Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What's your issue?

Apple is pleased to announce participation in a new film competition, and we welcome your participation and the involvement of your students in the What‚s Your Issue? - Film Your Issue initiative and competition which launches in January 2010.

Apple is supporting the exciting and important competition, along with YouTube, Best Buy, the NAACP, Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Obama administration, and others.

Young adults 14 to 24 are being invited to develop and present innovative solution-project ideas to front-burner issues, in one of eight categories: environment, education, health/ healthcare, poverty, public service, national security and defense, the economic recession, and human and equal rights.

Winners will be selected by both a VIP Jury and public online via YouTube.

Winning solution-projects will be presented to senior officials in the Obama administration, broadcast on screens in every Best Buy store on the planet, at a VIP reception in Washington, DC, and flown to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony co-hosted by Sony Pictures Studios. Prizes include an Apple MacBook and iPhones.

The format for submission is a 3-minute video, presenting both the issue and proposed solution-project idea. At the time of submission, the video will be uploaded along with an accompanying one-sheet outlining the project.

The deadline for submissions is April 10, 2010.

Details of the competition are on the What‚s Your Issue- Film Your Issue Website

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


OHS staff gathered for a first-ever "Speed Geeking Smackdown" after school on Tuesday of this week. Staff members could bring a quick technology site, tip, or lesson idea to share, or could just watch the event. Each presentation was restricted to a 3 minute timer. All participants enjoyed the event and hope to repeat it again in the future.

Below are notes from the session:

Video highlights will be posted soon:

Monday, November 16, 2009

O'Neill hosts Apple LLI event

O'Neill High School hosted its second "21st Century Learning Leadership Institute" on November 11-12, 2009 sponsored by Apple. Teams of leaders from over a half-dozen area schools listened to presentations from OHS teachers, administrators, and students and got the opportunity to witness 24/7 Learning in action. Some of the resources from this year's institute are linked to the site below:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Challenge Based Learning at OHS

Challenge Based Learning

has been taken on in many forms in OHS classrooms this school year.

Some of the classes and projects that have had a CBL-base to them include the following:

  • 8th Grade History with Mr. Hostert. Students are choosing their own "Big Idea" in the world around them, doing research, and creating a solution that they think makes a difference. This is an ongoing project that builds on students' independent interests and teaches the research process as well as multimedia production to share student solutions.
  • 9th Grade Girls' Health with Mrs. Myers. Students formed teams and are researching the U.S. Health Care Crisis. Arming the teams with websites and community experts as guiding resources and alarming statistics about the need for Health Care reform, students will create presentations that suggest solutions for this real-world current problem.
  • 8th Grade Technology Trends with Mrs. Morrow. "Saving Face" is the name for teaching Internet Safety under the facade of a challenge. How can we protect unsuspecting students younger than us how to stay safe on the Internet? Teams of students create solutions to help educate their peers and take action in today's digital world.
  • Elementary P.E. with Mr. Morrow. Mr. Morrow challenged his 5th and 6th grade physical education students to form teams and rise to the challenge of promoting physical education in their school and community. PEPCo (Physical Education Promotion Company) Teams are entirely voluntary and work during their studyhall and recess time to create various solutions to this challenge including, podcasts, video production, and an after-school exercise club to name a few.
  • 10th grade Biology with Mrs. Paris and Mrs. Mueller. Students are challenged to apply their knowledge of biomes to take action on global climate change and its associated problems. This unit will include video casts from the Arctic Tundra explaining how actions locally affect the polar bear population, as an example of a direct, real link to the effects of the problem.
These are just a few of the ever-increasing examples of how integrating 21st century skills by use of the Challenge Based Learning framework can positively affect our curriculum and our students' learning environment. Varying in duration, focus, age level, and overall structure, there is no one prescribed formula for successful CBL integration. However, a common element in these and in examples to come, is the engagement of the students and the important role of a teacher as guide and mentor. More to come as these students show the world how they can "take action and make a difference."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sentence Structure with Stop Motion Video

Sam and Clare, two students in Mrs. Pongratz's Senior English class, energize grammar with their creative stop-motion animation video on sentence structure.

The power of publishing to the web means real, live, instant feedback. Within an hour of publishing their project online, these were comments received via Twitter about it:

A Visitors' Thank-you

Letter from Louisville Public Schools:

"Katie and Staff and Students at O'Neill Public Schools,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your 1:1 program with us last week. We learned so much and were so impressed with your progress. It was great to see the process in action. Thank you again,

Shureen and the Tech Team"

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Mr. Hostert's 7th graders use their Macbook to learn U.S. Geography in a number of ways.

  • iPhoto: Tagging images with "Places" and adding geographical information to each image for later review.
  • SMART Notebook: Using the Gallery items to create maps and study guides for learning the original 13 colonies

The more ways we practice, the more we learn!

Collaborative Flashcards

In Mrs. Pongratz's English classes, learning vocabulary is a full class effort. Students create PowerPoint slides on individual vocabulary words, complete with definition, derivatives, and visual image, etc., then save their slides as pdf files and submit to Angel. Mrs. Pongratz downloads the student-created flashcards, and using Adobe Acrobat Pro combines the individual student files into one large pdf. This is saved back to Angel for the entire class to download and study from. What a great use of a simple technology tool, Mrs. Pongratz. Thanks for sharing!

Download an example here.

Student Shares Sign Language via iWeb project

Douglas shares his knowledge of sign language via his iWeb site for Mr. Peterson's class. Click on his Blog and subscribe to his videos to learn the alphabet and more!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another mode to "touch" foreign language practice

Spanish classes at OHS have started utilizing O'Neill's new iPod touch cart to deepen their foreign language practice. The iPod touch is a portable handheld computer which can run many applications with the touch of a finger. The iTunes App Store has many educational apps available for download that run on these devices (and not on laptops). Mrs. Brown purchased apps from the 24/7 Tutor series with which students are able to see, hear pronunciations of, and play educational games with Spanish vocabulary words. This additional avenue of experiences with technology enhances the learning of our students and reaches other modalities and interest levels. The iPod touch cart will be shared with other O'Neill teachers and classrooms throughout the school year. Stay tuned for other exciting applications of this newest learning device for O'Neill Public School students and teachers!

Collaborative Writing Continues

In Mrs. Troester's 8th grade English class students are not only writing, peer editing, and revising within her classroom, they are doing it with students across the state. The following link is from an article written by Mrs. Troester and published by the University of NE- Lincoln about O'Neill's participation in the Nebraska Writing Project last year. This year the project has been expanded to more OHS classrooms and is producing more and more positive results. Congratulations to our 8th grade authors, editors, and peer reviewers in this project!

Students make the best teachers!

Listen to Lorissa Johnson, OHS Senior, share her self-taught knowledge of photographing people with the OHS Photography Club this morning. Great information and really cool images were shared with all. Lorissa is planning to study graphic arts in college next year and it looks as if she already has a great start!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Message from an OHS Student

A big thank you to senior student Lorissa Johnson for taking the time to write up this message regarding technology opportunities at OHS and her recent college visit to The Creative Center in Omaha.

I recently went the Creative Center in Omaha for a college visit. I thought I was unprepared but that wasn't the case. Here at O'Neill since we have 24/7 use of MacBooks we are being well prepared for the new technology that is now being used for some major careers. They told me they use: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Final Cut Pro etc. all of which we have here at O'Neill. They also told me since I have a lot of practice and skill in some of these programs that I would be far ahead of any other student. Finally they told me that I would have a great chance of getting into this school even though they only let in 60 students a year. So basically what our high school has done for us students is they have given us a great chance to succeed in the future, and given us a chance to excel in learning new technology; for which I am very grateful. :)

--Lorissa Johnson

Guest Speakers via Video Chat

Several opportunities to learn from experts have been capitalized on in the last couple of weeks at OHS. Calling upon professionals to share their experiences with our students is a underutilized opportunity that technology makes so simple. A couple of examples include Mr. Peterson's brother-in-law, Glenn Gross, college professor in Digital Design, who was willing to speak to the OHS "Hot Shots" Photography Club. Here is a summary from OHS "Hot Shots" Sponsor, Katrina Gotschall:

"The OHS Hot Shots were lucky enough to have connections this week! Mr. Peterson's brother-in-law, photographer and professor Glen Gross of Highland Community College in Highland, KS skyped in to talk to the club about what makes great photography and the appreciation that needs to come with the "art" of making a great photograph. He gave the group some background on how he became the photographer he is, talked skills with us, and gave us some pointers on choosing the right camera for the job. Mr. Peterson displayed some of his work for us all to see and appreciate. He also gave us a few resources to check out: 1) Kansas City: MK 12 2) PDN (Photo District News) Thanks for taking time from your schedule to talk to us! You can find more information on Mr. Gross here."

A second example was enjoyed by the Digital Media class as Molly Wetlauffer's cousin Skyped in to talk about her work in the professional world of Digital Media. With a write-up, here is guest blogger Molly Wetlauffer:

"On Wednesday September 30th we had a via Skype call with a General Media Manger from New Orleans,LA Rachel Vella. She talked with us about what we do here at OHS for the new cable channel 7 that we produce. She gave us tons of great advice. She told us that we should do a reality show or sell parent adds. She also told us that we are using a great program to work with,which would be Final Cut Pro. We were certainly grateful for all of her advice and are excited to get started on some new ideas."

These are just two examples of the ease and power of bringing experts from the outside world into our classroom walls via technology. The possibilities are endless. Save on mileage, travel, time, and money and set up more Guest Speakers for your classes soon. You and your students will be glad that you did.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eagle Eye Sports "Flying High" As Always

The following message was received over the weekend from Madison Public Schools.

Would you please pass on my THANKS and CONGRATULATIONS to all those involved in setting up your webcasting and for the doing the game Friday night.

It was a treat to be able to watch our boys at an out-of-town game without having to travel.

The foresight the O’Neill district exhibits is outstanding. They are giving the staff and student invaluable experience to carry throughout their lives.

The young men that were announcing were very informed about both teams, did a great job pronouncing names and added small humorous tidbits to the broadcast. They also handled the technical problems without getting ruffled.

I enjoyed it very much. Again thanks and congratulations to everyone involved.

Dianne McDuffee, Business Manager
Madison Public School
P O Box 450
Madison, NE 68748
(402) 454-3336

To watch this broadcast visit or other archived "Eagles on Air" recordings visit the OHS ustream channel at

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009-2010 Eagles on Air

The 2009-2010 Eagles on Air school news program will be published by OHS students each Friday during the school year. There are a number of ways that listeners can tune in to this video wrap-up of each week's happenings.

No matter how you choose to watch the OHS news, we hope you will share your feedback and input with the student team in charge of producing this weekly show by emailing

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Eagles on Air: Preparing to Launch on Channel 7

Last week Mr. Peterson and Mrs. Morrow met with Three River Digital about taking over Channel 7 programming right from OHS. Mr. Peterson's Digital Media students will be spearheading the project and will undergo training this week on the equipment and software that will be used to manage the cable channel programming.

"Eagles on Air" will be just one of the productions that our students are responsible for broadcasting weekly. This year's version will be created in video format. In addition to viewing each Friday on Channel 7, people can also tune into and "Listen Live." Look for the banner edition due out this Friday.

Continue to expect great things from OHS students with their newest "stage" for sharing the great things happening at our school!

Spreading the power of 1:1 computing

Last year O'Neill Public Schools hosted numerous visitors and guests wanting to see the power of 1:1 laptops in an educational setting. Several of those schools have successfully started 1:1 laptop initiatives in their schools starting already this school year.

The following is a note received from Bedford Community Schools, Bedford, IA,: one of the schools that visited O'Neill last spring:

I thought I would share something a sophomore girl wrote in her writing journal about the laptops and the school year so far.

The laptops are pretty cool so far. They really do make school a bit more interesting for me. It makes things a lot more organized too. I like typing and researching things on the computer. I think iChat is really cool too. I love being able to talk to my friends and video chat from home. I think it's also very cool that I can just iChat my teachers and ask them for help. I love the moodle page. It keeps me organized with all my class work. One of my favorite parts about the laptops is that we can listen to music during school. I like that we can use our phones in between classes too. It makes me feel like I actually have a life outside of school. I don't feel so locked up in a school for hours running up and down the stairs sitting in classrooms listens to teachers talk wishing I could fall asleep. Hopefully the students can all be smart with the laptops. We're pretty lucky to have this opportunity and I hope we're able to keep doing this successfully.


- - - - - - - - - -
Carl W. Rankin, MA
HS Language Arts, Yearbook, Speech & Technical Theatre
Bedford Community High School

Thanks Katie for all you have done to help us.
In 27 years of being in education I have not seen anything that has had the impact that the one-to-one has had on our students and teachers. It is truly amazing. It would not have been possible without your support and help and your willingness to share what you have done at O'Neill. Please thank everyone involved at your school!

Joe Drake


Bedford Community Schools

I visited Bedford last week to help train their staff. The school is located in a small, rural community in southwestern Iowa. I delivered tDay #5 in an entire week of professional development for the teachers getting ready to implement Bulldog One2One: Leading the Pack. Eagerness to start something of future value for the entire community was evident. The school facility was inviting, progressively updated, and the people were top-notch. Many similarities exist between Bedford and O'Neill and we hope to continue partnerships and collaboration with our staffs as we are similar in size and student composition.

Other schools that we at O'Neill directly helped launch their laptop initiatives include the following:

  • High Plains Community School 1:1 Technology Initiative

  • CO2OL: Chambers One 2 One Learning

  • Wheeler Central Public Schools

  • Bloomfield Community Schools 24-7 Laptop Initiative

The world is waiting to see the exciting learning endeavors that come out of these and other technology-infused schools this year, and O'Neill is as well!

Great beginning to a new school year.

The 2009-2010 O'Neill Public School year is underway in an overwhelmingly positive fashion. With nearly a week and a half of school complete, students and staff alike are already demonstrating the power of laptops in learning. Here are just a few of the many observed positive uses of technology so far at O'Neill High:

  • Several teachers are already producing podcasts for their kids to listen to/watch outside of class (
  • Digital textbooks with audio capabilities are being encouraged to be used in and out of many classes.
  • VoiceThreads are being created in Mr. Corkle's Science classes.
  • Comic Lifes are being created in Mrs. Troester and Mrs. Nordby's English classes for various writing outcomes.
  • Blogs are being created by Mr. Peterson's Digital Design students as professional portfolios to share their work throughout the semester.
  • Mrs. Gotschall is using Google docs with her students to collaboratively construct meaning.
  • 8th graders in Ag class chose to make an iMovie (on their own initiative) for a research project.
  • Mr. Hostert is using the "Places" feature in iPhoto and having students create visual flashcards of geographical cities and landmarks they learn about in JH Soc. Studies classes.
  • Angel courses and even extracurricular Groups are being created and enrolled in all over the school.
  • Connor Peterson put the entire year's school activities calendar into iCal format so that we don't have to enter each event individually on all our machines.
There are many, many more, but these are just a few of the positive uses that we have seen in Week One.

An area where we may need to work a bit harder is restricting our laptop use to educational uses only during the school day. Studyhalls seem to be the main time when students forget this very important guiding principle. If students have no academic assignments to work on, there are still many options for using the MacBooks other than social iChat, idle web-surfing, or playing games. Here is a link to some ideas of "Maximizing your MacBook's Potential". If none of these look enticing, do not forget about picking up a book and getting some independent reading time in. There is plenty of time for non-academic uses of your laptop outside of the regular school day.

Keep the 24/7 Learning coming!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

OHS 09-10 Activities Calendar in iCal

A HUGE shout out to 10th grader Connor Peterson who created the entire year's calendar in iCal format for all to download and use on your Mac. Just hold down your OPTION key while clicking on the link below. Then go to where it downloaded to and double-click the file to add it to your iCal. Now it will be easier than ever before to stay connected with all the OHS activities and events. Thanks, Connor!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Even Eagles Need a Push

Welcome back to 24/7 Learning!

As another exciting year unfolds, here is a motivational reminder for students, staff, and community alike.

"Even Eagles Need a Push"

Back to School Bootcamp '09

Three rounds of OPS 24/7 Learning "Boot Camp" were held last week, with one more final opportunity to check out student MacBooks yet to come this week.

Last Thursday evening, August 13th, all incoming 7th grade students along with students new to our district attended a two hour "Boot Camp" at O'Neill High School. Directly following the 6-8 p.m. session was a one-hour orientation/laptop check out for any student who participated in 24/7 Learning last school year. A repeat of this one hour session was held on Friday from 12-1 p.m. and a final session will take place next Wednesday, August 19th, starting at 7:00 p.m.

All students must attend at last one of these "Boot Camp" sessions along with a parent before they will have 24/7 access to their MacBook for the 09-10 school year.

Complete information that was shared at the Boot Camp sessions, including changes and reinforcements for this school year, can be found at:

Updates include a reminder that laptops are to be used for educational use only during school hours, a few changes in student costs/fees, and an explanation of consequences including the use of a "whitelist" during academic probation. Also presented were exciting opportunities for OHS students including Eagles On Air, iTunes U K-12, more teachers podcasting, OPS Google, and new iLife '09 software on all MacBooks.

Everyone in the O'Neill Public School community is excited for another year of 24/7 Learning to get underway. With everyone's combined efforts, the opportunities and experiences to be had are guaranteed to be greater than ever before.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Off to College Mac Promotion

Looking to buy a Mac for college? Apple has started the promotion, once again, where higher ed students can get a free iPod touch with each new Mac purchase. How sweet is that?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Students - it's MacBook check-in time :(

Make sure that you have your yellow laptop check-in sheet completely filled out before you come down. We want you to list any repairs that have been done to your machine this year as well as anything that you know is not working right so that we can fix it over the summer. Bring your MacBook to us POWERED DOWN, your laptop case ZIPPED SHUT with the shoulder strap IN THE FRONT POUCH, and your yellow sheet FILLED OUT. Thank you for your help in making this process go smoothly! It's been a great year of 24/7 Learning!

The Golden Talon Awards

(Like the Golden Globes, but better!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

O'Neill Schools Flickr Group

Join the Flickr Group and share your O'Neill school-related photos!

Also, plan to attend a meeting next Wednesday at 11:45 in Mrs. Gotschall's room if you are interested in photography and a possible club for next year for photo enthusiasts!

1st Annual Golden Talon Awards Ceremony!

Submit your digital media projects that you have created this year to the GOLDEN TALON AWARDS Drop box in the Content folder of the O'Neill Schools Public Group on Angel! You can submit as many as you would like and in whatever format you choose to share. Some examples would be movies, photos, music, slideshows, graphics, .... ANYTHING that you created digitally this year-- either for a class project or just on your own for fun.

The Digital Media class will be selecting which entries get showcased at the Golden Talon awards (to be held in the gym on Wednesday, May 20th at 11:45 p.m.). Any project that is "on the program" will be entered into a drawing for an iTunes gift card to be awarded at the conclusion of the ceremony.

We want to see all the cool creations that you have done this year with your Mac! We also want to have a fun event that hopefully will become an annual one to share your talents. So enter your projects to this drop box BEFORE 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18th. (By Friday may be the easiest!)

See Kelsey Mundhenke, Bergen Hesse, Jenna Fernau, Rainey Hull, Mrs. Morrow, or Mr. Peterson with any questions. THANK YOU!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Digies Awards

Apple Computers sponsored the annual student digital media contest and honored winners in a ceremony at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln last Saturday, April 25, 2009. Over 500 entries from students grades K-12 from all across the state of Nebraska were narrowed down to a field of finalists invited to attend the ceremony. O'Neill Public School was once again well represented by its students as 21 separate entries created by 27 different O'Neill students were recognized at the event. Each category recognized the finalists, awarding them medals, followed by the announcement of the overall category winner and a "Digies" trophy. O'Neill Public Schools brought home three trophies this year:
At the conclusion of the event, special recognition was given to the "Digital Divas" as being a great example of "Challenge Based Learning." Apple announced changes in the Digies competition for future years and featured the girls' project as an example of what students should start considering as the focus of their digital media projects. More can be learned about Challenge Based Learning at

All additional finalists from O'Neill Public Schools as well as most of the students' projects can be viewed at:

NETA 2009

O'Neill Public Schools was well-represented at the 2009 Nebraska Educational Technology Conference held on April 23-24, 2009 in Omaha, NE. "Exploring New Territories" was the conference theme, inspired by a new venue for this annual event- La Vista/Embassy Suites. Over 2,300 educators from across the state of Nebraska heard keynote speakers Hall Davidson from Discovery Education and Stephanie Hamilton from Apple talk about today's students how to engage them in the learning process to better prepare them for tomorrow. Several O'Neill Public School teachers and students contributed to the conference's vast body of knowledge by presenting sessions. Lara Morrow and Melissa Polinoski presented poster sessions- "The Mixed Up Files of Art and Technology" and "Nebraska's Counties" (assisted by 4th grade students Allison Becker, Jake Young, and Emily Morrow.) Katie Morrow led participants in two workshops (iWork and iCollaborate) as well as two break-out sessions (ACOT2 and "Rising to the Challenge"). Deb Barelmann co-presented in the second of the two break-outs and helped share the successes of O'Neill part in Apple's pilot project on Challenge Based Learning. Mike Peterson and Gary Hostert, along with 7th graders Jonathan Hunt and Nathan Gotschall, led a session highlighting the innovative "Eagle Eye Sports" program at OHS. Positive comments from across the state and beyond were shared on conference evaluations about O'Neill Public Schools' involvement in NETA 2009 and the educational technology knowledge that they shared.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

article to appear in NCSA Today publication

O’Neill Public Schools’ Journey into 24/7 Learning

At O’Neill Public Schools, technology is more than the next new gadget. Instead, it is about equitable access and leveling the playing field. It is about enhanced communication, collaboration, and other 21st century skills. It is about amplifying learning opportunities and engaging learners in self-directed work. And, it is opening opportunities to all students beyond what they traditionally see possible in school and beyond. Nearly every classroom, K-12, is equipped with a digital projector, SMART Board interactive whiteboard, and digital tools specific to the discipline (digital cameras, video cameras, graphing calculators, handhelds, probes, etc.) Accompanying the hardware is a vast array of software choices from which every student can explore their talents and preferred learning styles. Most importantly, each 7th-12th grade student has round-the-clock access to a MacBook laptop through O’Neill’s 24-7 Learning initiative, while the elementary frequently utilizes laptop carts to enhance student learning.

O’Neill’s technology integration success didn’t happen overnight. In this K-12 rural district of approximately 800 students, student engagement and student success has always been the focus. A strong administrative team with powerful future visioning supports the day-to-day learning efforts in the classroom. That vision created positions for a technology integration specialist at each building, as well as an IT person to keep the technology up and running. This has made a tremendous difference in infusing technology throughout the curriculum.

Another reason for technology success across the district can be attributed to the classroom leaders. Teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development in numerous areas; they have shown leadership in many organizations such as NATM, NATS, NETA, NAG, and NEA. Many staff members have invested resources in college courses to enhance their ability to effectively use technology in the classroom. Their growth is evident in the work they assign in the classroom. O’Neill’s teaching staff is on the cutting edge of 21st century teaching and learning.

Grant-writing efforts (both small and large) have been a driving force in acquiring equipment and programming funds for many educational efforts. Once funding is secured, the students “sell” the continuance of it with the projects they create while utilizing the technology in the learning process.

Thus, the most significant piece of the “success formula” is the students themselves. Students from O’Neill Public Schools have presented locally, regionally, and nationally with their exemplary work, much of which has been enhanced by the technology resources available to them. In an effort to showcase student successes, Superintendent Amy Shane arranges for a group of students to present a “Success Story” at every School Board meeting. More often than not, students are highlighting the power of technology in their projects, whether through an FCCLA keynote presentation, National History Day research project, original music production and performances, movie productions aired on television, published writing projects technology has enhanced their learning. That’s why when a 1:1 laptop initiative was first proposed for the district, it only made sense to board members. Expanding students’ use of technology to 24/7 with equal access for all, in a more organized, learning-focused school-wide effort was the next step for district success. High School Teachers received MacBook laptops during the summer of 2007 and training that fall. Juniors and seniors received their laptops and piloted the 24/7 Learning Initiative second semester of the 2007-08 school year, and all 400 7-12 graders received Macbooks in August of 2008.

Gains are already being seen by teachers, students, and the greater community. Home-school connections have increased as families benefit from the increased access to information and communication that the laptop provides. Students are more engaged in the learning process. Often learning projects have a real-life purpose that extends beyond the classroom walls, making their learning more meaningful, relevant, and applicable. Students’ work is more creative, more collaborative, more differentiated, and more self-directed than ever before. These 21st century skills, along with increased collaboration, communication, and problem-solving, are essential for our students’ futures. Providing students the opportunity to practice, investigate, and create with a vast array of digital tools throughout their K-12 education is going to put them ahead in their future educational and professional pursuits.

Eagle Eye Sports (Sports broadcasting live with video and student commentary) is one example of extending learning into the community. Many school activities are “UStreamed” and shared with viewers worldwide via the web. This year’s school improvement external team report was streamed live so that all teachers and community members would have the opportunity to listen to it. Students have also connected with the community by designing websites for local businesses as well as creating commercials and public service announcements to air on radio and television. O’Neill’s students have won numerous Robotics and Digital Media awards, continuing to set the bar higher each year.

Future continuance of technology at O’Neill Public Schools includes plans for a school-run local cable access channel, managed by the Digital Media classes, where projects can continuously be shared on a greater stage with the rest of the community, as well as video-on-demand access online. Incorporating more interdisciplinary learning experiences and curriculum models such as “Challenge Based Learning” are also in the district’s future goals.

For more information and examples of technology integration at O’Neill Public Schools, visit the high school website at or the 24-7 Learning site at:

Letter from Ashland_Greenwood Public Schools

April 9, 2009

Dear Katie:

I just want to thank you again for sharing your time, knowledge, and expertise with our Ashland-Greenwood team earlier this week. I cannot begin to express the importance of having our teachers experience the one-to-one environment prior to deployment next August. It is evident that you have a true passion for helping the students in O'Neill become successful learners in the twenty-first century.

During our brief stay in O'Neill, we were impressed with the many innovative activities, lessons, and units that are being implemented by your teachers. We were especially impressed with your ability to podcast. The podcasting tool is certainly a valuable component in the 24/7 learning environment. I was also impressed with your students. They were willing to share their experiences and thoughts on the one-to-one initiative.

Please share this thank you with all of your teachers and staff. Everyone was helpful, open, and honest. Overall, our trip was a huge success and has given us even more information to consider during our preparation for the one-to-one initiative here at Ashland-Greenwood. Thanks again for sharing your talents and knowledge with us.

Matt Flynn
Technology Integration Specialist
Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Student Essay

During the late 19th Century there was a dilemma that many common citizens faced, the fact that technology needed to stay up to speed with the people. However living in the 21st Century, that isn’t the case. Technology right now is moving at a faster rate than most have time to figure out and understand the programs that one device can contain. Traveling through my education years, from elementary school to high school technology has taken many levels.

Starting my learning in Kindergarten and moving through to my fourth grade year, I encountered my first stage of the technology advances dealing with floppy disks and CDs. Initially when I first started using the computer and understanding some of the programs that it contained, my visions of the technology world had widened. In school I did many educational projects on programs such as powerpoint and word processor; however, in order to show my instructors the projects I was required to save them on floppy disks. Floppies were an easy way to keep important things on because they were portable, inexpensive, and simple to use. As the technology wheel kept on turning floppies became less used and out of date. Later another use of saving information was introduced, keeping data on a CD. This allowed people to have more storage capacity than the floppies. As technology kept on taking more steps, I later come upon the next stage of the technology advancement.

The next stage of the technology advances that I seen growing up was during my fifth grade through sixth grade years with the introduction of the handheld Palms and the S.M.A.R.T Boards. To begin with having Mrs. Morrow, a technology equipped teacher, made learning more enjoyable than ever. She had expanded my knowledge in academics with the use of a handheld Palm. Using the Palms to write journals, accomplish DOL, and draw sketches of topics that I was being educated on; made learning an adventure. Next, She even broadened our horizons with the S.M.A.R.T Boards. Having a larger view of a computer screen in front of the classroom made it easier to understand the steps of the procedure that we needed to take on our lab computer, worksheets, group projects, and much more. The frontal projection of the S.M.A.R.T. Board transformed the classroom into a more dynamic learning environment.

The third stage of the technology advances that I come across as I developed into Jr. High was the usage of USB flash drives. The USB flash drives are very convenient to use and allow you to save GB of information on a smaller device. Data can be very quickly written to, or read from, this convenient portable device. USB Flash drives were a very unique way to keep information because many computers today don’t even have floppy drives, and while CDs can be used to exchange data, writing a CDrom can take time and not everyone always has a CD burner.

The fourth and final stage of the technology advances that I have encountered as I came into contact with high school was the use of the MacBooks. Taking a MacBook to every class and interacting with learning on a whole new outlook has made learning more enjoyable than ever. Using a series of programs to fully educate myself on new topics, I have had a different perspective on learning. With so many applications to use there is a wide variety of ways to make projects including imovie, powerpoint, keynote, pages, word, photoshop, and garageband are just a few of the ones that are offered. When unable to attend school because of illness, school activities, or any other reason, assignments are available on Angel, a school assignment webpage. The MacBooks have tremendously enhanced my typing ability by improving my speed and accuracy. I believe that this will help me in years to come in the business world because in many jobs you need to be skilled at typing. Now that I have been in this stage for about a year, Technology is still improving.

Living in the 21st century I have been through many improvements of technology. Technology is progressing at a very fast pace. Each time you start to thoroughly understand how to incorporate a piece of equipment, a new and more advanced device is introduced. Getting involved with technology at a young age will help you to more understand how to use the new developments because of the rapid tempo of the new technology. I will keep trying to stay up with the increase of technology devices because of the impact that they can have on your life. With the pace of improvements that technology has provided for us we won’t be having a dilemma any time soon like the common citizens encountered during the 19th Century.

by Bobbi Walters

Friday, April 10, 2009

O'Neill Public Schools hosts visitors and showcases technology efforts

For the past four school days, O'Neill has hosted visitors from three different schools hoping to learn more about technology in the educational process.

Teams from Fillmore Central and Ashland-Greenwood, along with a teacher from Elkhorn Public Schools, all soaked in the knowledge and experiences of many teachers, administration, and staff across the district.

Both Fillmore Central and Ashland-Greenwood are planning to implement 1:1 laptop initiatives in their districts, although they are each in different planning phases, and Elkhorn Public Schools have begun to implement SMART Board interactive whiteboards in their classrooms.

O'Neill staff and students represented our school and community well and were great ambassadors for the transformative power of technology in education. Of all the positive comments from the visitors, the most significant may be how impressed they were by O'Neill Public Schools' students. Students were extremely willing to share their firsthand experiences with their MacBooks and the many digital projects they have created since the inception of 24/7 Learning. Whether informally pulled aside in the lunchroom, the classroom, or directly interviewed by the guests, OHS students shined in their expertise, honestly, and excitement about laptops in their learning process.

Classroom Connectivity with Math and Science

For the past four years, Janice Vosler and Deb Barelmann, OHS Math teachers, have been involved with a grant/research study incorporating TI calculators and the TI Navigator in the algebra classroom. To help bring the research study to a conclusion, Dr. Doug Owens from the Ohio State University recently visited O'Neill High School to see the use of technology in action in math classes. Listen in to an interview session with the three above-mentioned educators about Classroom Connectivity in Math and Science.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Great photos from 8th graders

by Brady Wakefield

and all were captured on point-and-shoot or cell phone cameras!

Fillmore Central Visitors

Steve and Katie - I want to thank the both of you for
taking the time out of your day and rearranging your
schedule to meet with the Team from Fillmore Central on your
use of 1:1. We were able to come away with a good picture
of what needs to happen for us to have the same success as
your school. Your school and community are fortunate to
have such dedicated educators. Best of luck with the
remainder of the school year.

Steve Adkisson

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

OPS Digies Finalists 2009

2009 Digies Finalists have been announced. Out of over 400 entries, students from O’Neill had 20 projects named as finalists, represented by 27 different students, and sponsored by 10 different teachers.


And the O’Neill Public School Nominees are:

7-12 Digital Still Picture
Angela Moore - Angelea Moore
Reflection - Jacqueline Parks
Walking Home - Tyler Hipke

7-12 Digital Still Image
Fireleaf- Demi Devall
Froggy Fun- Jacqueline Parks
Mortal Instruments - Alex Atkins

7-12 Highlights
OHS Volleyball - Bergen Hesse
OHS Girls Basketball Highlights - Kelsey Mundhenke and Liz Watson

K-6 Highlights
Digital Divas Go Green- Emily Morrow, Julia Bauer, Claire Morrow, Amanda Brown, Allison Ludwig

7-12 Animation
The Wooden Man- Kaitlynn Kizzire

7-12 Informational and Curriculum Related Video
A Day in the Life- Angelea Moore
Tia Zia Commercial: Filming a Commercial- Abbie Swanson
Apathy Motivates Passion - Alex Hedlund, Molly Shane, Mark Vavra, Angel Rodriguez, Dillon Dick
Apathy Annihilators - Rachel Price, Allison Depko, Shianne Coventry, Jordon Mauch

K-6 Informational and Curriculum Related Video
Macs and Robotics- Chandra Spangler and Claire Morrow

Open 7-12
Hands- Emily Sallach

Open K-6
Emily in the Outdoors- Emily Morrow
My Ancestor Project- Corbin Dean

7-12 Community Promotion
Out of the Phoenix- Ashley Sandall

The 2009 Digies ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 25, at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, East Campus at 1:00 p.m.

Sexual Assault Awareness PSA

Angelea Moore, Molly Wetlauffer, and Kelsie Niederklein created this PSA for Bright Horizons in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Cable Nebraska will be airing this student-created PSA on cable during the next few weeks, so look for these stars on TV!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sports + Technology = !!

In every sport and activity this year at OHS we have witnessed the added benefits that technology brings. In just the last week, I have seen the golf team analyzing video of golf swings of the pros, Track athletes checking in on their coaches' iWebs (Coach Peterson; Coach Morrow) for workout schedules and practice videos, club volleyball players watching video as a scouting report for their upcoming tournament, and many student athletes still reveling in the glory of successful wrestling or basketball seasons by re-living the highlights films online over and over.

Track coaches Peterson(hurdlers) and Morrow(pole vault) recently purchased Kodak zi6 HandyCam pocket HD camcorders for use training their athletes. Athletes can instantaneously watch and analyze their form in high-definition after practice has concluded, or watch their progress as the meet highlights are posted all season-long on their coaches' websites. Get ready for the upcoming "Hurdle Cam" as well, as plans exist for using an action mount to follow the motions of OHS hurdles while in action!

With every OHS athlete having 24/7 access to MacBooks, communication, team connections, and high-tech analysis of the sport is even more accessible and beneficial to all.

Bearing Witness

Created by Mrs. Gotschall's sophomore English class,

these PSAs show how OHS students can “bear witness” to issues in the world today.

Amazing work, students!

My 4th Quarter Photographers

My 4th Quarter 8th Graders.... We love our digital cameras! Check out some cool images we gathered on our photo walk:
by Emily Elsbury

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Musicians, Photographers, and Meteorologists!

During just one period today, I viewed so much creativity and innovation from inside of OHS's walls that I had to stop for a few moments and enjoy it.

Next door in the Mr. Peterson's business room, a student borrowed the Eagle Eye Sports mixer board, hooked up his guitar, and was recording his own original music into his MacBook.

Down the 200 hall in Mrs. Gotschall's journalism class, they borrowed the green screen and were holding their own "Eddie the Eagle" photoshoot to be used as themed title pages for this year's yearbook.

And in the 300 hall, Mr. Corkle's 8th graders were weather forecasting, or weather 'reviewing' rather, explaining weather phenomenon from real-life satellite radar images captured from the National Weather Service's website, and using PhotoBooth to narrate them as a real weather forecaster would.

I didn't even get around the entire school, but I had to commend OHS students and teachers for thinking outside the traditional learning box, allowing students to pursue their passions, and creating more than they consumed within our high school walls.