March 25, 2011

Learning with Laptops

On Friday, March 25th our high school students were invited to present what the laptops at YHS have meant to them in their learning as the Keynote presentation for a Technology Day at SAD 6. The students planned a presentation using the Google Presentation app, working on it whenever they each had a chance. Alice Barr worked on getting the students, coordinating their ideas and making sure that all was ready for Friday. With the entire faculty of SAD 6 gathered the team of students spoke clearly and eloquently about the power and importance of having laptops and technology as integral parts of their high school lives. This is one short video clip, the full video is available.

video
The rest of the day was sessions for teachers and the students helped me and Alice Barr teach creating Google Sites. While this isn't blog post isn't about Elementary students it is about the investment that Yarmouth students have in incorporating technology into every aspect of their learning. Seeing what that can mean in high school gives me even more impetus to give every elementary student the experiences that will lead them to creative, independent learning with technology.

March 19, 2011

Yarmouth Goes Google

On March 18th the K12 Technology Team planned and carried out a professional development day at YHS for all faculty and staff. The process of moving from Google Docs and FirstClass Mail to all Google Apps is accelerating as we plan to be using all Google Apps as of April 25th (after April Vacation). Google Education provides numerous tutorials and transition aids to all districts moving to Google Education Domains. Using those materials, and others from colleagues and Google Certified Teachers, we put together a Conference style day that is posted at this site: http://ytechday.yarmouthschools.org.


The reaction has been very positive as to the differentiation that was offered for learners at different points in the transition. We offered 20+ sessions in strands that ranged from Novice to Experienced. We were fortunate to have colleagues from neighboring schools and districts as well as our own faculty offer sessions and twelve YHS students spent all or half of the day assisting presenters and offering help to faculty members. Photos uploaded during the day are posted online.


These were some comments on the Exit slips:
I was a little nervous about the Google inservice day at first, but you all did such a great job explaining everything. It was so nice to have time to work on what we learned that day when we had others there to answer any questions we may have. 
I really enjoyed working with others...we helped and supported each other in a safe environment.  
This was phenomenal. I really didn't realize how much these tools can do. Now I know more about what I don't know. This day helps me to continue with my own learning.   
A very professional day with all of the amenities that one would expect from a conference that we paid lots of money to attend. 
I thought the day was very well planned. I enjoyed learning new things and working with colleagues I don't normally get an opportunity to work with. 
I love the variety of sessions and all the extra help. Lots of energy around this transition! 
A wonderful learning experience!
I appreciated that I could leave a session anytime that I felt that it wasn't what I needed.  
I really enjoyed working with others...we helped and supported each other in a safe environment.  
After much apprehension, I am so excited about creating a website.
 I love the way you always include students - they are such an amazing resource and it's wonderful for them to see us learning, learning, learning.   
We will continue to offer informal and formal learning opportunities for faculty and staff as we move through the coming months. Over 30 Yarmouth faculty will participate in the “Teaching & Learning with Google Tools” course posted at https://sites.google.com/a/yarmouthschools.org/spring-2011-tech/.

March 15, 2011

Winter/Spring Yarmouth Tech Course

It's great to have the opportunity to offer a one credit course again in Yarmouth. For some people that time frame works better than attending in the summer and in particular teachers will have time for the learning that will be required to move to our Yarmouth Google Domain in the coming months. The course is being developed with separate sessions for K-4 and 5-12 to allow teachers to start and end at different times. The course site is at https://sites.google.com/a/yarmouthschools.org/spring-2011-tech/ and the website will be developed over the months of the course.

March 8, 2011

YES Student Surveys 2011

This year it happened that I had mostly 2nd and 4th grade classes fill out brief survey on using computers and the Computer Lab at YES.
 A considerable majority of students report that they like using computers at school:
I was pleased to see that most students think that I help them learn, at least some of the time:
When asked, "One thing I like to do on our computers is:" students had a varied list of items that they like to do on computers: draw, Clicker Paint, Games, math, Timez Attack, Keynote, Online books, Scratch, Google Accounts, and of course "free choice". The second graders had a strong voice for drawing programs and math games, while fourth graders were more specific about math games and creating projects.

In response to: "One thing I wish we did more of on our computers:" there fewer responses, but the answers were a broad range from more free time to GarageBand to videos. They would like to spend more time searching and exploring sites on the Internet, but we try to keep that inside the bounds of school research. Interest in learning to type is growing in younger grades and I may start offering it to 3rd graders next year.

I was curious to see what their responses would be to the question, "One thing I think I am really good at when we use our computers:". There weren't very many responses, but they are interesting:
  • math websites (3)
  • everything
  • clicker paint (5)
  • Photo Booth
  • acrostic poems (3)
  • typing (6)
  • finding what to do
  • learning
  • spelling
  • Edmodo
  • figuring out stuff
  • Scratch (3)
  • computer shortcuts and Scratch
  • lego digital designer
  • TimezAttack (3)
  • solving problems that I have by myself
  • garage band
We are fortunate to have the equipment and resources we do and I hope to keep encouraging our students to become confident, active learners with technology.