DTL Insider December 18, 2020

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December 18, 2020     

Digital Teaching and Learning


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A Message from the DTL Director

To all our PSUs and Partners,

On behalf of The Division of Digital Teaching and Learning, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership with us and to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a Happy New Year!


2020 has been one of our most challenging years, but you quickly faced the difficulties, adapted to change, and mitigated the impact on our students’ learning experience. We appreciate your dedication to the students of NC, and I hope each of you will take time off and focus on yourself and your family.

May joy and peace resonate in your hearts during this holiday season and the coming new year!

Vanessa Wrenn, Ed.D, CETL, CeCTO
Director Digital Teaching and Learning
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Welcoming Lauren Boucher to the DTL Team

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Lauren Boucher joins us from Pitt County Schools where she served as a district level Digital Teaching and Learning Coach for over eight years.


Lauren also has experience teaching in elementary and gifted education. Lauren is passionate about the transformative effect technology can have on the teaching and learning experience, as well as inspiring classroom teachers to incorporate digital learning tools into their everyday routines.


In addition to working with the educators in her district, Lauren has also served on the NCTIES Executive Board since 2018, and worked with education leaders across the state as a member and mentor with the North Carolina Digital Leaders Coaching Network.


Lauren is excited to continue her work with educators and district leadership to bring a positive learning experience to the students in the Southeast Region of North Carolina through the utilization of digital teaching and learning tools.

Digital Learning Standards Course


A course on the NC Digital Learning Standards is now available in Canvas to support PSUs as their educators implement these standards with their students.


Information about this course, including a recorded webinar, is available at this link. PSUs should reach out to their regional DTL consultants for further assistance with these course materials.

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New Items in the NCDPI Benchmark and NCDPI Released Banks

A total of 7,834 new assessment questions are now available in Schoolnet from the NCDPI Accountability team! 4,833 of those items were added to the NCDPI Released bank for use by teachers, and the other 3,001 items were added to the NCDPI Benchmark bank for use by PSU administrators. We hope these are useful to educators building Schoolnet assessments.


December Webinar Recording & Other Videos

If you missed the December Schoolnet webinar on Advanced Assessment Creation, the recording is now available on YouTube! Additionally, check out the NCDPI Schoolnet Playlist to the right of the video for past webinar recordings and other Schoolnet video reference guides from the Home Base team at NCDPI.

Coming in January: Schoolnet Mini-Course

We’re excited to announce the first Schoolnet mini-course in NCEES will be available in January 2021! Like the mini-courses for Canvas and #GoOpenNC, these will replace the monthly Schoolnet webinars and will be designed to be completed in 1 hour. Within 48 hours of course completion, 0.1 CEU of DLC Credit will be applied to your transcript.


The January 2021 course topic is Keeping It Simple in Schoolnet. In this course, participants will learn to build and analyze a simple quiz in Schoolnet.


Stay tuned to the Schoolnet Google Site for the release date and additional information as it becomes available!



Did you miss NCEES December Webinars on Middle of Year Plan Activities and Reporting?

Click here for a full list of NCEES webinars and recordings.
Also, Check out our NCEES YouTube Playlist!



We are pleased to announce the second round of Request for Proposals (RFPs) for Digital Learning Initiative Grants for the 2020-2021 school year. This second-round initiative will run on an abbreviated time frame from February 6, 2021-June 30, 2021 pending State Board Approval.

These competitive grants are intended to support North Carolina PSUs as they address challenges, harness opportunities, and leverage resources for digital-age, personalized teaching, and learning. As specified in the Digital Learning Plan, this grant program is intended to support the development and dissemination of local innovative digital teaching and learning across North Carolina.

During this round of Digital Learning Initiative Grants, there are two Requests for Proposal applications: Planning and Implementation. Please refer to the RFP materials on our website for detailed information about each grant opportunity and submission guidelines. The deadline for submitting both the planning and implementation grant application is Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. PSUs who were awarded a Planning or Implementation Grant in October 2020 are not eligible to re-apply.

To access the December 11th Webinars and Presentations, go to the DLI Grants Webinars site. In addition, questions regarding these grant opportunities may be submitted by January 5, 2021, through our website where we will also post responses. Lindsey Sipe and Julie Gurganus, two of our Digital Learning Consultants, are the leads on this effort and will be hosting the webinars and keeping track of the Q & A’s.

We look forward to many of our North Carolina PSUs engaging in this competitive process as we continue to foster digital-age, personalized learning across our state. If you have questions, please contact Lindsey Sipe (lindsey.sipe@dpi.nc.gov or Julie Gurganus (julie.gurganus@dpi.nc.gov). 

NCWiseOwl Holiday Gifts for NC Educators!

ncwise gifts

NCWiseOwl offers many holiday gifts for North Carolina educators!
eBooks and Publications topics:

  • Learning Strategies
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Digital Literacy
  • Distance Learning
  • Reading Literacy
  • Social Emotional

Also, find education journals aligned to subjects and discipline areas!
Visit the NCwiseOwl Toolkit professional learning page for the complete list with links.

IVCi, LLC and the CARES Act


With the recent release of the CARES Act, money has been allocated to each state for spending in conjunction with the COVID-19 outbreak. This money can be used in many ways to include governmental and distance learning collaboration technology. The current K-12 education fund has $13.5 billion to be spent on products and services that are tied back to COVID-19.

IVCi, LLC is an organization that specializes in collaboration solutions designed to connect people and businesses around the world. IVCi has been working with state and local government as well as school districts across the country – such as Boston Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools in creating interactive hybrid learning experiences for students and teachers.


For those who are interested in learning more about IVCi’s best practices and solutions, please contact Chris Lemperle, clemperle@ivci.com.


If you’d like to check out one of their more popular remote classroom solutions on your own, here is a brief video message from the CIO of Boston Public Schools showcasing the ease, flexibility, and enhanced experience of the Poly Studio: https://youtu.be/otfwHbyA5lw.”

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Virtual Holiday Games

Like the saying goes “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and because it is, we look forward to spending time with family and friends. Throughout the year everyone is busy with the hustle and bustle of work, school, and the everyday responsibilities of life. Even though this year was different, we found different ways to accomplish those tasks. So it is now that time we anticipate enjoying food, fun and laughter as we celebrate winter holidays and the beginning of a new year.

As we continue to celebrate in different ways, whether small gatherings, virtually, or however you choose to be creative to spend with family or friends, maybe the following ideas and sites will help you plan that special occasion.

  • Kahoots.com - This site has a large selection of trivia topics that are great for virtual gatherings. Click on explore content to see the many topics.
  • Lightning Scavenger Hunt – For Lightning Scavenger Hunts, create a list of items or characteristics. Then, on a Zoom call, challenge your remote employees to gather the items and show them on screen to earn points.
    Here is an example of items to find: 1) Something red. 2)Your favorite mug. 3)Whatever is in the pockets of your winter jacket. 4)The thing you have had the longest. 5) A book that you did not enjoy. You can get creative with your hunt; the more obscure the objects the better.
  • Read My Lips - Many of us have been in a Zoom meeting when a presenter’s audio cut out or the speaker forgot to unmute the microphone. Read my lips turns this awkward or frustrating situation into an intentional challenge.
    To play, one attendee will mute the mic, and then speak a word or phrase. The other players must try to guess the word or phrase correctly. Players will have one minute to figure out the message. The turn-taker can also give clues by using the chat box, if necessary.
  • Rock Paper Scissors - Even if your teammates did not grow up playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, the rules are easy and intuitive: scissor cuts paper, paper covers rock, rock crushes scissors. Switch it up by using the reactions feature to answer in place of hand gestures. The key is as follows:
    👏 = Paper
    👍 = Rock
    Teammates cross arms = Scissors

    To play, prompt participants with the classic rallying cry, “rock, paper, scissors, shoot!” Teammates will have three seconds to answer. When all players respond, count the reactions: majority wins.


So as you settle down to enjoy the holidays, and you’re trying to think of ways to entertain, check-out these virtual games for fun and excitement with family and friends.