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LVJUSD Fosters 21st Century Learning

October 10, 2019 - Livermore, CA- Animoto, Symbaloo, Scratch, Spark, Dash. These terms may not sound familiar to the average adult, but to elementary students in the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District(LVJUSD), these are common tools used in their classrooms whenever they are learning with technology.

Thanks to the funding of a seven-year, voter-approved parcel tax in 2014, LVJUSD is able to support our youngest learners’ understanding of technology through the innovative work of the Utilizing New and Innovative Technologies in Education (UNITE) team. Comprised of four Teachers on Special Assignment, the UNITE team coaches elementary teachers on integrating appropriate and innovative technology tools to support curriculum, assists with the planning of STEAM labs and makerspaces, and models how to educate our students on the importance of responsible digital citizenship.

“Thanks to the UNITE team, our students are digital citizens who are as fluent in the use of technology as they are in reading, writing, and speaking. With the team’s training, teachers have learned how to transform instruction to include online collaboration, research, and production. Hands-on support by the team prepares students and staff to redefine education through the implementation of technology,” stated Superintendent Kelly Bowers.Technology not only increases student engagement in the classroom, but it also expands critical thinking and problem solving skills through creativity. At the Marylin Avenue Elementary STEAMLab, students used MakeyMakey, a device that interfaces with a computer by connecting it to real everyday objects, to create a piano keyboard out of bananas! Students then played music from the computer by touching the bananas.

From kindergartners learning the fundamentals of a Chromebook, to second graders writing code for Dash robots, to third graders creating online presentations using Adobe Spark and Animoto, the UNITE team provides an invaluable technological foundation for students to build on as they progress through their education.

“It’s been said that many of the jobs our young students will be applying for as adults will revolve around technology that has yet to exist. Our team’s goal is to strengthen the adaptability of our students’ knowledge so they are well-prepared for our ever-evolving technological world. Increasing our students’ creation of educational
content over their consumption of educational content is critical for preparing them for life in the 21st century,” shared UNITE team member Noah King.

Photo 1: Kindergarten students using Chromebooks for the first time
Photo 2: Second grade students using MakeyMakey to make a keyboard out of bananas
Photo 3: UNITE team members: Michelle Seugling, Noah King, Julie Janzen, Kristina Pinto

Kindergartners and Chromebooks Students using MakeyMakey to make banana piano UNITE team: Michelle Suegling, Noah King, Julie Janzen, Kristina Pinto