Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Technology Projects

So much has been happening in my new District role as Instructional Technologist. I'd like to share and comment on some of the varied projects I am working on.

Google Apps for Education-About 750 seniors were recently trained on Google Apps tools including email, calendar, docs, and sites. Our students use Google Sites as a way to maintain an electronic portfolio for their Senior Projects. I encourage our students to use Google Apps as much as possible and point out the collaborative sharing and publishing features that might be useful to them. Some students are quick to figure out Google Talk, even though it is not included in my training session. My hope is for our district to expand Google Apps to more grade levels.

Moodle- I also trained 750 seniors on using Moodle to submit their Senior Project proposal online. Moodle allows us to manage all these proposals by assigning 50 students to 1 teacher using the "groups" feature. As a result of seeing how well Moodle manages assignments, I've added 2 more teachers to our Moodle users group for AP Physics and Business Applications.

Flipped Classroom-I encouraged another Physics teacher to experiment with a "Flipped Classroom." So far the reports have been positive. Mr. Enck posts 15-minute lecture videos on-line for homework. Students come into class ready to apply the information to Physics problems. This model follows with the philosophy that if something in the classroom can be delivered electronically, it can be assigned as homework and classtime can be used for hands-on applications and/or discussions. Mr. Enck plans to use the CPS System (see below) as a check on how well the videos are being understood, in addition to the problems delivered in class.

CPS (Classroom Performance System) Project-I've been working with our Social Studies department to set up a CPS project that includes a shared database of questions that can be pulled into an individual teacher lesson for a variety of SS courses. The goal is not only for one teacher to increase formative assessments but to compare and share instructional strategies between teachers. This project is also beginning a discussion on writing questions that get at all levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

Plato Software-
I was recently trained on Plato Software which our district is considering using for credit recovery situations. It's basically a way to put together an online course in the core subjects. It is customizable in many ways and unique courses can be set up for individual students who are missing a course or sections of a course.

Electronics Use Policy Committee-I am a member of a high school committee on evaluating our current electronic use policy (no devices from 7:30-2:30). Parents, teachers, and students have come together to work on a recommendation.

Voicethread-I've been working with a LOTE (Spanish) teacher on using Voicethread as a fun way for students to practice speaking skills by reciting Spanish poems on a teacher Voicethread.

Technology and Professional Developement-our department has been moving in a different direction as to how technology professional development is delivered. Our goal is to have the PD be ongoing, collaborative, and embedded (in instruction). This is not an easy task as time, money, and scalability are often at odds with these goals. If you do this with success at your school, I would love to hear about your strategies.

On the horizon...the NYSCATE Conference is in a few short weeks and I am looking forward to hearing from Chris Lehman and Sir Ken Robinson. I am in the process of selecting sessions I will attend and a couple of us are using Google Wave to discuss these conference opportunities (and yes, I have a couple of invites remaining). Our Spanish class wants to connect to another Spanish-speaking classroom so that is another project to get up and running. Our district continues to install SmartBoards and we are working to provide embedded instruction around the SB tools.

Latest stuff...this is some of the latest stuff I've run across. I just started using Mobile Air Mouse today, an app for my iTouch that allows me you use my iTouch as a remote mouse. There are so many learning opportunities on iTunes University specifically for Teaching & Education professional development. A sampling of titles include Audacity-Editing Audio, Moodle Support, and Intermediate Spanish just to name a few. I also like the Readability toolbar button to use with projectors, visually-impaired students, and cleaner print options from the web.

So this is how I've spent most of my time in the first 2 months of school. I am looking forward to helping teachers and students using technology for learning. I'd love to hear about other projects out there! Please leave your comments.


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