New Berlin's Extreme Makeover Summer Tech Academy

New Berlin Public Schools 2006 Summer Technology Academy
New Berlin, WI (suburb of Milwaukee) Img_0474 Img_0471

As I am writing this blog update there are 57 New Berlin Public School educators deeply immersed in collaboration, sharing, and developing an "Extreme Makeover" technology integrated lesson.   Kevin Messman, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, and his talented and able team of educator presenters (Barb Uhen, Miriah Lofy, Pam Quirk, Rachel Yurk, Toni Heinowski, Amy Stenzel, Holly Roge, and Kathi Vitas) organize a fantastic three-day Technology Academy for district educators each and every summer.  This year’s theme is "Visual Literacy and 21st Century Learning." 

Each of the participating educators learned more about Visual Literacy via a keynote led by Kevin and myself and selected one of three major strands for their workshop focus:   Visual Literacy, Digital Storytelling or SmartBoard and Media Integration.

Several of us (Barb, Pam, Miriah and myself) led the Visual Literacy strand with Pam Quirk, Fifth Grade Teacher, who demonstrated how to take an existing animal adaptions lesson and metamorphose it into a hands-on, engaging, technology-integrated, 21st Century skills focused lesson. 

This process is based on the framework that national educational technology leader, Bernajean Porter, calls an "Extreme Makeover Lesson."   Bernajean Porter’s Grappling with Technology Spectrum and her Summer 2005 keynote program at New Berlin has had powerful impact on the New Berlin instructional technology efforts.  We incorporated Porter’s framework into each aspect of the workshop’s lesson redesign efforts.

Teachers attending have the opportunity to select from 4 sessions on integration of district media resources and technology tools including:

1.  The NEW unitedstreaming and all the wonderful new features (did you know there are now fabulous songs and audio files available!) Img_04951_1We explored the new interface and enjoyed discovering all the updated user-friendly features.

2. Microsoft’s (FREE) Photo Story 3 and how easy it is to download images and sounds from unitedstreaming and create your own engaging instructional multimedia lesson or student projects.

Img_04811These creative Special Education educators are learning how to create their first multimedia slide show in Photo Story – a very fun and creative process and so easy to learn in Photo Story’s wizard driven approach. 

3.  Integration of netTrekker into the classroom  — what an amazing resource netTrekker is! No more wasted time searching the Internet for credible, authoritative, quality instructional and educational web resources.  Img_04921

Barb Uhen leads educators in the use of library media resources including netTrekker.

4.  SmartBoards and Media integration – did you know that there is an amazing NEW tool for elementary student digital storytelling which is a great software program to use with your SmartBoard.    If anyone knows how effective SmartBoards are in the classroom, New Berlin educators and DEN members, Rachel Yurk and Toni Heinowski, Amy Stenzel, and Miriah Lofy (soon to be a DEN member) do!   Each of them led strands on integration of SmartBoards combined with digital meda from unitedstreaming.   New Berlin educator LOVE SmartBoards and use them for much more than just a drawing or interactive mouse tool!  They teach with the Notebook software and use every tool provided in the software suppporting the Boards.

5. Digital Storytelling – A separate strand on digital storytelling, led by Holly Roge and Kathi Vitas, also was offered for those who love toImg_05011 spin tales incorporating images, sound, video clips, and instructional ideas.

Below are just some of the pictures from the Summer Tech Academy event! 




Everyone’s having fun and learning a lot at this year’s Academy.

GREAT times, GREAT learning oppotunitites, and GREAT collaboration!  Congrats, New Berlin School District!   

Here’s the amazing part… New Berlin teachers just started their FIRST day of summer vacation and instead of taking it easy and enjoying some down time they were at the Summer Technology Academy sharpening their skills for next fall!   

Now, that is DEDICATION! 🙂 

Does your district hold a Summer Tech Academy? 
If your district wants to know more about how to organize an inspirational Summer Technology Academy the New Berlin School District has the formula worth copying! 


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  1. Rachel Yurk said:

    You summed it up well Jan. It was so wonderful to have you there for this. Thanks for all that you did!

  2. Holly Roge said:

    What a great experience! The creativity and enthusiasm that participants brought were the true reward for the week.

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