Thursday, December 29, 2011

All District EdTech Day

While we've done lots of professional development over the past couple of years on integrating technology in curriculum, we are just so excited about our upcoming all-district educational technology professional development day! It's the first time since I've been here that we've brought teachers from all over the district together to work with technology together. From 8:00 to 4:00 at the high school on January 4, 2012, we will be working with all of our district teachers to both learn more about various educational technologies for use by students in the classroom, but also to work collaboratively with other teachers and AEA experts on educational technology projects that will be implemented in classrooms across the district this spring.

Almost all of our teachers from all over the district are doing very creative things with technology for learning in their classrooms. The next step then is to expand the educational technology knowledge of all our teachers by giving them the opportunity to work together and learn from one another. Those who use Skype can help others use Skype. Those who use their SMARTBoards as student centers in their classroom can show others what that looks like. Those with classroom websites that students access regularly will help others create or expand their own classroom websites. Some will create classroom projects based on curriculum that will have students creating websites or presentations of various kinds themselves.

Take a look at the schedule:

Educational Technology Professional Development January 4 Schedule

While teachers may choose to work on their classroom websites or blogs, or decide to create a Moodle online component to their curriculum, or learn to use the SMARTBoard better, the ultimate focus of the professional development is how to help students use technology to learn. It's easy to use technology tools to teach like we've always taught. It takes a lot more time and effort to put the technologies in the hands of the students and let them become co-directors of their learning. We have spent a great deal of time and money on equipping the district with lots of different technologies for student use, and we want to give teachers more skills and knowledge to use technologies with students in ways they maybe never even thought about before.

Thanks so much to our teachers and AEA representatives who have agreed to facilitate this day of learning!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Teachers helping teachers

I've always maintained that a technology department can provide equipment, and they can provide educational technology professional development. However, when it comes right down to it, only teachers can take the ball and run when it comes to becoming comfortable with using technology in the classroom day to day.

I am so happy that a group of teachers chose to work together to get their classroom web sites in order last summer. I am so happy that a current group of teachers is working together after school hours to get their classroom blogs current and useful to their students and families. I am so happy technology teachers are collaborating with content teachers to make sure students are learning the tech skills they need to use technology for content learning.

We have an all district educational technology professional development day coming up in January, and although we have a couple of outside experts coming in to help us, for which we are very thankful, the most important people of all are those teachers in the district who have agreed to go the extra mile and to do the extra work to share their educational technology expertise with their peers. I have never asked for help from a teacher when I have not either received a positive response or a referrel to someone else who could be of more help. Never.

It's not easy to find the time to use new technologies, but our teachers are dedicated to going the extra mile. I am so proud of our teachers!