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Enhancing Student Technology Literacy and Engagement at Nixon-Smiley High School

Case study: Enhancing Student Technology Literacy and Engagement at Nixon-Smiley High School

Lisa Brown teaches seven subjects across four grade levels at Nixon-Smiley High School, a Title 1 school in Nixon, Texas. She has taught Family and Consumer Science for over 10 years and was always intrigued by the latest technological innovations, but lacked the resources to utilize them in her classroom. In 2010, Ms. Brown?s school district received a grant designed to ensure that technology would be thoroughly integrated in teaching and learning. As a result, every student at Nixon-Smiley High School received a personal laptop to encourage learning with technology in and outside of the classroom. "Because we received these computers, we are expected to use technology," she explains, referring to information and technology literacy requirements.

Now that her students had the resources to take advantage of educational technology, Ms. Brown sought a learning platform that offered a comprehensive solution. She needed something specifically to organize student submissions, manage assignments, streamline assessments and encourage student engagement. She discovered RCampus and found that it met all her needs and even helped her students prepare for college while learning how to utilize technology for education. "RCampus has improved how my students learn," Ms. Brown says. "They are learning how to upload files and share files, and how to use discussion boards to share and express ideas as well as collaborate. My kids and I use technology everyday in class. It has taken almost 10 years... but I have finally been able to teach the way I want to!"

One Sunday I graded four classes' assignments... all using my iPad! They couldn't believe that I was actually working.

Lisa Brown
FCCLA Advisor/FCS Teacher
Nixon-Smiley High School

Organization with Ease

Ms. Brown discovered RCampus while searching for an organized method to collect student submissions. Although her school had established an electronic system, Ms. Brown wanted something more to effectively manage assignments from approximately 60 students across four different grade levels. "The system the school setup is disjointed for me. I teach seven different courses in seven different classes," she explains."RCampus makes [collecting student submissions] so much easier. It provides an organized, streamlined way for me to manage my courses," she says. With RCampus, Ms. Brown receives student submissions directly in her gradebook. The automated collection system organizes students? assignments, enabling her to save the time and effort required to arrange them manually.

One Solution for Every Need

In addition to offering an automated solution for student submissions, RCampus provides a full suite of easy-to-use tools which assist Ms. Brown with her other everyday teaching needs. "I am able to publish an assignment, monitor student work and grade completed assignments all in the same place," she says. Because RCampus is entirely web-based, Ms. Brown and her students are able to conveniently access this comprehensive suite of learning management tools from any computer. Ms. Brown can attach instructions and guidelines, rubrics, documents, and more to any assignment that she creates with RCampus, which provides her students with convenient access to valuable course materials. "All of the resources [my students] need to complete assignments, I include in the coursework on RCampus," she explains. "RCampus really helps students be more involved in their learning."

Open Educational Tools and Resources

One of Ms. Brown?s favorite features of RCampus is iRubric, the integrated Assessment and Outcomes System. While searching for a rubric to use with a fashion design project, she encountered iRubric?s extensive gallery over 140,000 user-generated rubrics. "I figured if someone else has done it why reinvent... I can adapt an already strong product to meet my needs and the needs of my students," Ms. Brown says. "iRubric is one of the most beneficial tools, especially because so many rubrics are ready to use!" Beyond the rubric gallery, it becomes a powerful tool for assessment and helps Ms. Brown clearly communicate expectations with her students."With iRubric I can use a rubric I already have or create a new one, link it to a specific assignment and when published... the students can see exactly how I will grade their work," she explains.

Sit Back and Tap-to-Grade

Ms. Brown is also able to grade with iRubric on her iPad. "One Sunday I graded four classes? assignments... all using my iPad!" she exclaims. She evaluated students? work while relaxing and tapping the screen of her iPad as her family was watching TV. "They couldn't believe that I was actually working," Ms. Brown recalls. iRubric saved her the time and effort of having to determine students? scores and add them to the gradebook--it does all of that automatically. "When I grade the completed assignments, there is no need for me to calculate," she says, "iRubric does it for me!"

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