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.