MESSAGES 2012 :: NOVEMBER 20, 2012

NOVEMBER 20, 2012 - Teachers' Biweekly Messages

The ads have already begun for the holiday season, and this week will be a short school week as our nation pauses for a day to appreciate the blessings that we have. There are many things for which we can be thankful. I want to say thank you this week for your work on behalf of your students and for your dedication to the future of our state. Teachers are powerful. Your expertise and professionalism make a difference every day. I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is a good one.

June Atkinson

In this Biweekly Teachers' Message:

  1. Online Assessment Tutorial Videos and Script
  2. Next Generation Assessments Released Forms
  3. NC Elementary Mathematics Add-On License
  4. Days Numbered for Distance Learning Website
  5. Pulitzer Prize Winner/Harvard Professor to Speak at the Daily Planet Theater
  6. Registration Deadline for Annual NCDOT Bridge Building Competition Approaching

Online Assessment Tutorial Videos and Script

As a reminder, schools must ensure every student participating in online assessments for the North Carolina Testing Program completes the Online Assessment Tutorial at http://go.ncsu.edu /nctdemo for the associated assessment at least one time at the school before test day. This ensures that every student has an opportunity to practice the mechanics of navigating through the testing platform, using the tools and responding to sample items before test day. The Online Assessment Tutorial offers separate assessment tutorials for each assessment with sample items specific to the assessment. Each assessment tutorial is expected to have one sample item of each item type. For best results, students should complete the Online Assessment Tutorial using computers they will use during the actual online assessment. LEAs and schools must document in their school testing plans how they will ensure all students complete the Online Assessment Tutorial before test day. Schools may use one of two Online Assessment Tutorial options:

1. The new Online Assessment Tutorial will offer an option to play a video. The video will give guidance for using available tools (e.g., FLAG, STRIKE, highlight), navigating the system, responding to each item type, and using the end-of-test review page. Immediately following the video, students must complete a self-paced interactive set of online sample items for the appropriate assessment offered in the same environment as the assessment.

2. Schools will use a standard script developed by the NCDPI giving guidance for using the available tools (e.g., FLAG, STRIKE, highlight), navigating the system, responding to each item type, and using the end-of-test review page while students are completing the tutorial items.

The Online Assessment Tutorial login page was updated earlier this week with two videos (one for desktop/laptops and one for tablets). The NCDPI strongly recommends schools show the appropriate video to groups of students instead of allowing each student to stream the video on a computer simultaneously. For schools choosing to use a script instead of a video, the script has been posted to the Online Assessment Tutorial login page.

Next Generation Assessments Released Forms

PDF versions of the online released forms of Algebra I/Integrated I Mathematics, English II, and Biology are now available at www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/releasedforms . The interactive, online forms will be posted soon at the same web address.

NC Elementary Mathematics Add-On License

In November 2009, the North Carolina State Board of Education approved an Elementary Mathematics Add-on License (EMAoL) for teachers holding an Elementary Education license. This licensure is a coordinated effort between the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina System (UNCGA), with statewide LEA representation and university faculty representation from colleges of education and arts and science. A UNCGA task force, including 16 faculty members from eight universities and three K-5 mathematics specialists, designed, developed, and implemented an online graduate-level program of study (six courses) focused on the mathematical knowledge needed for successfully teaching mathematics at the elementary level. Details of this effort are available online at http://maccss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/Elementary+Mathematics+Add-on+Licensure . For more information, please contact Susan Hart at susan.hart@dpi.nc.gov or 919.807.3846.

Days Numbered for Distance Learning Website

As of Jan. 2, 2013, the NCDPI Distance Learning website (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/distancelearning/) and the resources housed there will no longer be available. The majority of the resources available there are videos hosted at NC ITS. Almost all of these videos are encoded in RealPlayer format, and the assets also will be withdrawn from the NC WiseOwl video collection. The films affected are over ten-years old, and include the Caldecott videos, and short films on North Carolina topics. The RealPlayer format is no longer supported in many of your LEAs and schools, and the limited number of viewings in recent years has made the cost of hosting the films untenable.

WiseOwl continues to provide access to 550 full-length PBS videos from series such as American Experience, Ken Burns, Liberty's Kids, Masterpiece Theater, and Cyberchase. Hundreds of instructional films and film clips also are available through Britannica Online. Britannica is currently previewing their redesigned interface, which will be the standard look beginning in June 2013. Select the "Go to Preview Site" link at the top of the Britannica home page to view the new design.

Questions regarding NC WISEOWL may be addressed to Dan Sparlin at dan.sparlin@dpi.nc.gov, and questions or comments regarding the Distance Learning website may be sent to Neill Kimrey at neill.kimrey@dpi.nc.gov.

Pulitzer Prize Winner/Harvard Professor to Speak at the Daily Planet Theater

Dr. E.O. Wilson will speak at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Daily Planet Theater on Thursday, Dec. 13, at 1 p.m. Wilson is a researcher, biologist, naturalist, author, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard Professor Emeritus. He will be addressing the importance of biodiversity. For those unable to be attend in person, his presentation will be livestreamed. Schools and teachers interested in hearing his presentation can register online at http://eowilsonfoundation.org/splash. The event also will be recorded and made available online at a later date.

Registration Deadline for Annual NCDOT Bridge Building Competition Approaching

As a reminder, Dec. 7 is the deadline to register for the NC Department of Transportation's 14th Annual Statewide Model Bridge Building Competition. This competition for middle and high school students is designed to create a greater awareness of careers in transportation, construction, engineering and the services provided by the NCDOT. The competition also gives students an opportunity to work in groups to learn problem-solving strategies and utilize critical thinking skills, while making the connection between what is taught in the classroom and real world applications. Regional competitions will be held in March with the state competition held in April. To register, please visit www.ncdot.org/about/kids/BridgeComp .