Join us for ACPS Blended Learning Camp!

Join us for the 3rd annual ACPS Blended Learning Camp on Thursday, August 9, 2018.  This is a professional learning opportunity centered around empowering ACPS teachers to create deliberate connections of educational technology with face-to-face instruction to enhance and personalize a deep and meaningful curriculum. All ACPS staff can participate in Blended Learning Camp. Sessions will be facilitated by ACPS administrators, teachers, and members of the Technology Services department. Additionally, a variety of company representatives for programs used in ACPS will be present to provide their expertise. Companies include: Canvas, Nearpod, Common Sense Media, and more!

Date: Thursday, August 9

Time: 8:30am – 3:30pm

Location: TC Williams: Minnie Howard Campus

PLMS Course#: 15358

Visit the ACPS Blended Learning Camp Website for more details!

Apply to present at Blended Learning Camp!

Are you an innovative, enthusiastic, student-centered educator who implements blended learning in meaningful ways?  

Technology Services is looking for you!  ACPS is excited to accept presentation proposals for the third annual Blended Learning Camp to help us Refresh, Reboot, and Reimagine.

Blended Learning Camp is a one-day, conference-style professional learning opportunity for ACPS staff on Thursday, August 9th from 8:30am-3:30pm. Apply to present a 45 minute interactive lecture or share a more informal poster presentation on a lesson or tech tool you’ve used in our hallway shareground.

View a copy of the application questions here: Applications are due by April 2nd and must be completed in one sitting.  

Apply here:

ACPS defines blended learning as the deliberate connection of educational technology with face-to-face instruction to enhance and personalize a deep and meaningful curriculum.


Balancing Screen Time

As part of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan, ACPS will promote efforts to enable students to be healthy and ready to learn.  This includes fostering a balanced use of digital tools.   As families navigate the use of screens for school and entertainment purposes, the following articles and guidelines are helpful for making decision in your home.  In ACPS, we focus on the quality of screen time, aware that the devices available to modern students are their learning tools.  We center our planning on what children are doing with digital tools, aware that how they interact with devices is what matters most. Screen Time in the Balance by Linda A. Estep was published in the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) April 2016 entrsekt magazine.  ISTE has provided ACPS privileges to share this with families.

Resources for Families

ACPS Technology Use Guidelines

Step Aside, ‘Screen Time’ : When it comes to young kids, we should focus less on screen time and more on “screen purpose.”

Screen time resources for parents from Common Sense Media

Did You Know?

ACPS is a Common Sense Education Certified District!

Digital media and technology are evolving at a dizzying pace, both unlocking extraordinary opportunities and posing real risks for young people. Students are using the immense power of the Internet and mobile technology to explore, connect, create, and learn in ways never before imagined, both in and out of the classroom.  Issues that emerge from this 24/7 “connected culture,” such as cyberbullying, privacy lapses, and uncertainty about which information to trust online, are surfacing both in schools and at home.

ACPS sees these as teachable moments. We believe that digital citizenship skills have become essential for students in the 21st century, especially in schools like ours that are using technology to transform learning. That’s why we are committed to teaching our students how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly.

ACPS has been approved as a Common Sense Certified District: Digital Citizenship, an honor that recognizes our efforts in teaching digital citizenship to young people and engaging the entire community in this important discussion.


This recognition is provided by Common Sense Education, part of a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.


Our schools are some of the more than 100,000 schools across the country that use Common Sense Education’s groundbreaking education resources. As a result, our students are better equipped to navigate the digital world and use devices for learning.

To learn more about Common Sense Media, visit


Canvas is our new learning management system (LMS) in ACPS. Read below to learn some of the reasons Canvas was selected! For more information about Canvas in ACPS, visit A New LMS for ACPS.

Simple Interface

Teachers and students have consistently reported that they want a simple, modern interface. Canvas has a user-friendly experience for both teachers and students regarding navigating course content. The Canvas user interface is also responsive, meaning that the screen adjusts to the screen size. This means that viewing content on a tablet or mobile device is easier.

Integration with Third-party Tools

Canvas integrates with many third-party tools used by ACPS, allowing students to access these tools and teachers to assign content directly from Canvas without having to log in to another website.

Canvas has full integration with GSuite, so the workflow for collecting and grading assignments will be easier for teachers. This includes the ability to make a copy of an assignment for every student, so teachers will be able to utilize Canvas for things they were previously doing in Google Classroom.

Other tools Canvas integrates with include BrainPOP, Discovery Education, Khan Academy, Quizlet, and many more.  Additionally, the Canvas gradebook syncs with the PowerSchool gradebook.

Robust assessments with technology enhanced items can be built in Canvas, including the ability to embed rubrics and grade directly from the rubrics.

Flexible and Responsive

Canvas offers a cloud-based system in which updates are seamlessly pushed through every three weeks. This means that we won’t have to wait for bi-annual updates and slow responses to change.  Canvas has demonstrated a commitment to fast turnaround and a high degree of customer service. Anecdotal research from other customers suggests the Canvas product comes with a built-in commitment to service. In the end, that’s important for everyone using the LMS.

What is Blended Learning?

ACPS defines blended learning as the deliberate connection of educational technology with face-to-face instruction to enhance and personalize a deep and meaningful curriculum. For ACPS, blended learning is a natural way for students and teachers to maximize our educational technology resources available in our Digital Toolkit site with our engaging and challenging curriculum to ensure that every student succeeds. Blended learning touches on all aspects of the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan , including ensuring academic excellence and educational equity as well as maintaining an exemplary staff, optimal facilities, and learning environment. 

“Dash”-ing Around Kindergarten!


There are some new faces at William Ramsay Elementary School!  On January 11, Technology Integration Specialist Caroline Doughty entered Mrs. VanKuiken’s Kindergarten classroom with a cart filled with 10 Dash robots and iPads.  Mrs. VanKuiken is part of a team of teachers from William Ramsay participating in Coding in the K-3 Classroom.  Throughout the division, twenty teams of teachers are utilizing Dash and Dot robots to promote deep and meaningful learning experiences through creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking.  The students were on the edge of their seats as they learned about their math activity for the day!  

Ms. Doughty explains, “As part of Coding in the K-3 Classroom, kindergarten students are using Dash robots to explore curriculum topics and computer science.  Students in Mrs. VanKuiken’s class used the Wonder Workshop app, Go, to drive Dash around the room and find numbers in sequential order.  The students worked collaboratively in groups of two or three and learned how to manipulate Dash’s wheels, lights, and sounds.  After arriving at each number, the students were tasked with exploring a new feature in the Go app.  At number 1, students learned to manipulate Dash’s eye color.  Halfway through the hunt at number 5, students learned how to make Dash dance.  The journey ended at 10 where students were able to record their voice and teach Dash new words!  The lesson directly correlated to the kindergarten math curriculum and SOL K.4.  In addition, students were introduced to the basics of robotics and computer coding, using picture codes to navigate their robot.  The students reacted that it was “the best day ever” as they problem-solved and had fun learning and exploring together!”

Jessa Henderson, a Technology Integration Specialists at T.C. Williams, participated in the lesson with the students. Working with the kindergartners provided her with a different view of coding, as her background is in secondary education.  Mrs. Henderson  expressed, “Coming from a high school perspective, it was not only impressive to watch such young students complete the assigned challenge with Dash, it was inspiring to know these students are being exposed at such an early age to the problem solving, teamwork and coding skills that will be critical for success in our 21st century economy.

I witnessed, in awe, as students coached their classmates on how to improve their navigation skills by using supportive and direct language.

Students worked together to problem solve when obstacles were encountered.  In one instance, a group’s Dash became stuck under a table. The group, aware of the directions that students were unable to pick up dash and only navigate from the app, talked through possible solutions and opted to move chairs from under the table. This gave the students a more open path with which to help Dash navigate safely to his/her objective. To these students, this seemed more like fun, play time than an integrated math and technology lesson. Yet, in this time, each student began the important task of building up the foundation of skills necessary to be a critical thinker, teammate and problem solver. With technology-related fields increasing at a rapid rate, often without the adequate staffing to fill the demand, these students are setting themselves up for success in the 21st century economy.”

The gallery below shows highlights from the lesson. 




Blended Learning MiniCamp

On Friday, January 6th, members of Technology Services and members of the Curriculum and Instruction Office engaged in a Blended Learning MiniCamp!  ACPS defines blended learning as the deliberate connection of educational technology with face-to-face instruction to enhance and  personalize a deep and meaningful curriculum.  The welcome message from Dr. Elizabeth Hoover, Chief Technology Officer, and Dr. Terri H. Mozingo, Chief Academic Officer, included a look at blended learning in ACPS and how blended learning strategies support the ACPS 2020 Strategic Plan

The purpose of the camp was to foster rich conversations regarding the use of technology resources and how, when coupled with face-to-face instruction, they benefit students in ACPS.  Participants shared the ways teachers utilize creation and engagement tools in the classroom, and discussed when and how these resources are appropriate for learning.  During lunch, Dr. Crawley participated in small group discussions regarding the continued work between departments to support teachers and best meet the needs of students in ACPS.  One participant stated, “ACPS has many different technology tools that can help teachers more efficiently collect data and build student engagement at the same time.” The MiniCamp was a huge success and a great opportunity for collaboration amongst colleagues!  


Coding in the K-3 Classroom with Dash and Dot

Coding in the K-3 Classroom with Dash and Dot: Utilizing technology to promote deep and meaningful learning experiences through creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking, is accepting dash-and-dotapplications now through November 30th!

ACPS Curriculum and Technology Services are excited to announce an opportunity to provide teams of teachers with kits that include Dash and Dot robots to promote coding in their K-3 classrooms.  Students connect to and control Dash and Dot via applications on the iPad. Learning to code fosters creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking in students.  Recipients of the grant will be provided a Coding in the K-3 Classroom Kit to support a rich learning environment, allowing students to experience rigorous, relevant, and engaging learning opportunities.  There will be 20 teams of teachers selected to receive this grant.  Learn more about Dash and Dot.

Grant Details 

  • A team of 2 or more licensed teachers working in grades K-3 may apply for a Dash Classroom Grant. Teachers working with students in grades 4 or 5 may apply as a member of a grant team with a K-3 teacher.
  • Applications are due by 11:59 pm on Wednesday, November 30th.
  • Grant recipients will be notified on Thursday, December 8th. (Hour of Code Week)
  • Each team is required to attend one Dash and Dot Workshop offered December 13th and 15th (3:15-4:45 pm) in order to receive their kits.
  • A team representative will be required to attend a Coding in the K-3 Curriculum Workshop in the Spring.
  • Each team will share their products, challenges, and lesson resources at the end of the academic year through a medium such as a digital portfolio, video, or blog.

Coding in the K-3 Classroom Kit Materials

    • 4 Dashdash-and-dot-set
    • 1 Dot
    • 2 Accessory Packs
    • 1 Building Brick Connector Set
    • 1 Launcher
    • 1 Xylophone
    • 2 1-Year Curriculum Subscriptions to Wonder Workshop Teacher Portal 
    • 4  iPad Minis

Application Questions

  1. Describe how your team will work collaboratively to support students throughout this project.
  2. How do you plan to integrate Dash and Dot into the ACPS Curriculum?  Consider the content standards and where you see Dash and Dot supporting your instructional time.
  3. Describe the ways you envision your students benefiting from using Dash and Dot for coding.

Note: Applications are only accepted via the web application form.

Helpful Links

View a printable version of grant details HERE

Read more about Dash and Dot at


Contact your building Technology Integration Specialist or Emily Dillard, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, with questions.