Wow, there has been a lot happening this year school year (2014-15). Since today is January 1st, 2015, I thought I would take a few minutes to reflect on the school year so far. This year has been busier than ever. Every year I seem to say this, but, this year - wow!
The department has grown from 3 1/2 people and 2 computer labs to 7 people and 5 computer labs. Lots of great things happening. Dave Hamilton came into our department in October for his work with computer science. We met with one of the professors from the University of Montana Computer Science Department to discuss a grant that she was writing and the opportunity to really grow computer science in the State of Montana with more course offerings and dual credit. It is an exciting time, that is for sure! Our department participated in The Hour of Code this year which was a huge success - students received lots of exposure to coding.
Jenn Keintz will also be joining our department this year, sometime later this month. Jenn has been producing the school newspaper, the Konah, and the school yearbook, The Bitterroot for years. She has completed a master's degree in journalism recently. She has also been instrumental in starting and maintaining Spartan TV which broadcasts our weekly bulletins and more. I have been working with her to develop a Digital Media Academy at Sentinel High School.
The Sentinel Design Lab has gotten off to a slow start this year. With all of the Design Lab students graduating last year, except two, we have been struggling to get back up to speed. I am optimistic, however, as we have several great projects coming up.
Maria Bray has been busy working with several i3 projects. This has been a great opportunity for students to make a difference in our community. She gave up part of her summer last year and can't say enough great things about the program.
I have been working closely with the Montana Digital Academy as Lead Web Design Instructor having developed the Web Design course for the seven-state consortium. This fall I also picked up a Microsoft Office Career & Technology course. I will be developing updates to the Web Design course this winter. In addition, I have been in touch with the Montana Digital Professional Learning Network to see about developing, teaching and creating a core group of teachers interested in teaching technology-related courses for the State of Montana.
I will be teaching another Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) professional development course this winter called Google Apps for Education Online - Winter 2015. This is an exciting time at MCPS with lots of challenges and changes. MCPS will be hosting a Google Fest in May of 2015 - first of it's kind for MCPS. I will also be teaching a Mooodle 101 Online course starting in February 2015.
This year I have had the opportunity to get much more involved with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival which is from February 6-16th. Over the winter break, I reviewed fourteen of the documentaries that will be airing. If you have the time, you should definitely take the time to view some of these films. They were really well done.
I have a new addition to my classroom this year - a 3D printer! Since you can now create and print to a 3D printer using Adobe Photoshop, I thought this would be a good addition to our Graphic Design 2 class. Several students have been testing out the printer and I think this is going to be a great addition, not only to my Graphic Design 2 class, but the Sentinel Design Lab, too. I will be presenting 3D Printing using Adobe Photoshop at both NCCE in Portland in March and at ISTE in Philadelphia in June. I will also be presenting Infographics using Adobe Illustrator at NCCE in Portland.