January 15, 2010

What do I do?

Recently I had an inquiry from another school district asking what we do around technology to prepare our elementary students for 1-1 in grades 7-12. After I wrote the response I realized it might be a blog entry:

In the eighteen years that I have been in this position we have gone through many generations of equipment, but we have maintained a consistent philosophy of using technology as a tool for increased learning opportunities for all students. My own journey with technology started in the 1980s with first graders using Delta Drawing and in a staff development role with districts using the newly developed Bank Street College Voyage of the Mimi curriculum with middle school students.

In our district the budgetary focus for new equipment for the last 6 years has been on providing one to one in grades 9-12 (this follows the state provision of 1-1 in grades 7 & 8). Until this fall we had a lab of 24 desktop computers and 2 carts of laptops for the 2nd, 3rd & 4th graders at Yarmouth Elementary School. This year we were able to move equipment from the high school to our students in  grades 2-6 so now our 300+ students have a lab of MacBooks and 4 carts of 24 MacBooks that can be used in classrooms. All teachers have a MacBook, each classroom has a set of 2 iBooks and we have a projector for every 2 teachers. We have additional iBooks that can be borrowed from the Library for small group projects. Each classroom has a digital camera and microphone for recording, some have document projectors and tablets. We also have Flipcams, video cameras and digital cameras that can be borrowed from the Library. Learning Centers have additional computers for student use. Across the district we have wireless connectivity from all learning settings and networked printers.

Teachers plan the weekly lessons in the lab with me, either as a grade level team or individually, so that they mesh with classroom learning. We have overall guidelines based on the ISTE Student Standards focused on using technology primarily for communication, collaboration and creativity. I coteach the lessons in the lab with the teachers or I go into their classrooms when they are using the laptop carts. I maintain a set of resource pages that connect with the math, writing, reading, spelling, science and social studies topics taught at each grade level.

I support teachers creating classroom web pages and blogs as ways to give students an audience for their learning and accomplishments. These teacher/classroom pages are posted on the Teacher Pages on our school web site. I assist the Specialists in using technology during Library, Music and Art classes and I am available to anyone in the building who needs assistance with PowerSchool (our student information system), FirstClass (our school email system), curriculum planning and other times that technology is involved in our work.

I am at the Elementary School 3 days a week and work directly with all 15 classes. The other 2 days a week I am at our high school. We have 3 instructional technology integrators in our district. We often combine to support staff development for all teachers and administrators in the district. We teach a 3 credit graduate course in the district that meets for three days in June, continues into the fall and then finishes with individual presentations of lessons or units during an October class. Teachers receive credit which counts toward salary scale advancement and/or recertification.

The variety of my days and the opportunities to collaborate, learn and modify instruction for students are all reasons to continue my pursuit of this wonderful vocation.