July 16, 2005
How do you think differently about school technology leadership issues than you did before?
Before starting this course, I did not view myself as having a significant role to play in technology leadership at my school. Essentially, I viewed myself as an islend of technology in a desert devoid of such novelties. I have come to realize, though, that I have an obligation to my students to help shift the culture of my school to better embrace technology from the top down. But, do not imagine that this revelation is entirely self sacrificing. I have also come to believe that this may be useful for my own purposes (cackle!). Essentially, a school wide plan would minimize some of the duplication I find myself doing because there is no integration between the school and my classroom.
How has the course increased your awareness and understanding of the various school technology leadership issues we covered in class?
I have certainly come a long way in my awareness of assistive technologies. I feel ignorant for not having been more sensitive to this area of technological capacity.
I have also grown in my understanding of the digital divide and thus the emphasis for my use of technology in the classroom has shifted. In the past, I have regarded the use of technology as something to assist me in my instruction. I often believed that it got in the way of the teaching of -my content- because the ability level of my students varied so greatly. Now, I regard it as part of my responsibility as an educator to help bridge that chasm. This shift dramatically alters my approach to technology.
How does what you have learned in class relate to material from other courses, to your daily practice as an educator, to your current or future ations as an administrator, etc.?
The class has helped me to recognize my potential as a technology leader not just a doer. I will be starting a new position this fall and have a great deal to learn about my new school culture, but I now imagine a future for myself as technology coordinator at my school.
In regards to other courses, I found the Duffy and Cunningham articles to substantially emphasize my prior learning in the area of constructivist education. Even before starting an education program, my style of teaching was developed from the observation of educational leaders. Thus, my learning at the University of Minnesota has provided me with the pedagogical language to describe the teaching practices I used naturally. I have also found new ways to push my own teaching style further into this framework. For instance, by further shifting my role in the classroom from the front stage. This course in particular has helped me to recognize how computer tools can help me deliver the instruction I seek.
How does what you have learned in the course influence or interact with your own personal leadership philosophy and/ or vision for school technology?
I am now high convinced and motivated to seek grants to test my idea for "free and reduced technology." This research would explore:
1. the attitutes and willingness of families at different resource levels regarding their participation in the program;
2. the change in use of technology by the students at different resource levels before and after implementation of the program;
and, 3. the change in use of technology by the families of the students at different resource levels before and after implementation of the program.
I hypothesize that:
1. Families with high resources will be supportive of the program, but may express some resistance based on prior technologies they have at home.
2. Families with low resources will be motivated to interact with the school because of the program.
3. Student use of technology in and out of school will improve across the board, but will be most dramatic for students who have low resources.
4. And, family use of technology will increase for those who have low resources.
Ultimately, I believe that this program would help resolve some of the digital divide. The students would benefit, but more importantly, the families of students who do not traditionally have access to technology will benefit.
more cool tools
United Streaming - Videos. FREE trial. http://www.unitedstreaming.com
Atomic Learning - Tutorials for various software packages.
Quiz Star - Altec.org resources. Can upload using CSV. FREE.
July 15, 2005
I am sure that this is a weak area for my district. We are very small -- perhaps 150 total students in three schools.
I can certainly be a resource to our special education teacher in recommending some potential solutions.
Today's topic really opened my mind to how technology can assist students with disabilities. I consider this a tremendous shift in my thinking.
(Dang it! I closed my browser and lost my original info!)
Interacitve Physics - $249. Very powerful.
Interacitve Mathematics -
Smart Notebook - FREE. Hugely powerful.
Quia - makes games, etc. very easily. $49/ license.
Egg Timer - FREE download.
Palm Tools - File Maker Pro Mobile.
alt text - brief information
d-link - longer description (optional for screen readers)
Turn off images in the browser or use text only browser to verify that your site successfully conveys the desired information.
Analysis tool www.webxact.com.
Note, Sobriety High's site is not very accessible.
July 14, 2005
I mentioned the idea for "free and reduced technology" to a friend (actually, over livejournal which I have been using for over two years.)
He mentioned MITs $100 Laptop.
Delivering Tech Tools? Free and reduced technology.
Schools have school supply lists. Lets bight the bullet. Students need to have a laptop as an element of their schools supplies. The main reason this is not happening is because of the economic hardship this would place on some students. Based on the proliferation of iPODs, PSPs, and nice cars (wow, I can't afford all those toys!) we know that a large segment of our school population could afford the $150-200/ per year leasing fee for a laptop. The school districts could subsidize this cost, perhaps, leasing the computers for some reduced amount.
How about this? A free and reduced technology program. If you cannot afford the leasing fee based on your income level, you get assistance. Ideally, this would be based on a sliding scale.
Advertising idea. You wouldn't send your child to school without lunch, don't send them without a laptop.
Digital Divide & Learning for the 21st Century
What does my institution need to do to tackle the digital divide?
I am a teacher in a charter school (boo, hiss). We have a high ratio of computers to students and a population with relatively high computer access.
However, teachers and staff do not fully utilize the potential of their technology. There has been a "one time cost" attitude towards technology which is a fallacy. Thus, the cultural perception of technology cost must change. This may be accomplished through meetings and comparisons to other schools. Second, professional development is necessary to show and teach our faculty how to integrate technology into the learning process.
What role does Learning for the 21st Century have?
Six elements: core subjects, learning skills, tools, context, assessments.
I believe that the role of this consortium is to build interest and generate priorities with the aim of forging collaborations of money and assistance. These could be useful in delivering the changes necessary to close the digital divide. However, because there is a lack of emphasis on the difference between present reality and future possibility the report feels like empty propoganda.
Digital Divide -- Current Status
In schools, access is even. But use varies such that poorer schools do more "drill" type activity.
In homes, SES creates a divide.
On the net, information is culturally centered on white americans.
Gender, girls shy away from computers.
Games, male driven.
Rural access to HSI has improved.
July 13, 2005
improving new teachers
Thinking about the experiences of first year teachers.
Anecdotally, new teachers have terrible experiences with "student teaching." There are ample reasons for this.
I suggest that a new model must be introduced that better supports and aides new teachers. For instance, remove the "student teaching" requirement and replace it with a general period of observation and "assistanceship" that leaves the primary teacher in charge (which is what they want!) but permits the learning teacher to observe and reflect on teaching practices.
Then, provide new teachers with a scaffolded real teaching experience. For instance, integrate their first year teaching with their licensure. They may only be paid 50%, for instance, but they also have only one prep and teach only 1/2 a normal load of classes. This real experience in a supportive environment with the time needed to actually prepare lessons and reflect on their teaching would greatly improve the first year experience. I propose that this would increase teacher quality and retention.