Techconnects

Celebrating Connections – Ed Tech In Schools

September 19, 2011
by ncara
2 Comments

Planning for One to One Laptops and BYOD

If you were taking a long awaited trip, how far in advance would you begin planning? A year, three months, one month?
You’d surely want to make sure that is enjoyable, worthwhile and that your trip is just what you had envisioned. You would plan well in advance.

What if you are implementing new technologies in the classroom? How far in advance would you begin planning? Two years, one year, one month?

If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. – by Berra, Yogi

If you are going to implement an innovation such as a one to one or bring your own device (BYOD)  it must  be done on purpose and with purpose.

Indeed, some say that if you don’t plan for one to one or mobile access in your schools, it will simply happen to you. Increasing requests and student needs many necessitate it in some cases and the planning won’t have been done.  This scenario is the one most would want to avoid.

 

Baseball Diamond
The growth of One to One programs is an important educational development. There is substantial research such as found in the Speak Up Survey to tell us that this is an educational technology trend whose time has come,.

One to one programs put the world at our students fingertips. Indeed, they hold lots of promise.

One to One Implementations

There are many districts leading the way such as Van Meter in Iowa. I visited Van Meter in the spring of 2009 and was
immediately taken by the high level of student engagement and easy manner with which the students could describe how one to one expanded their learning. What struck me most however was how both the school’s administrators and teachers easily spoke to the goals for the one to one initiative.   From the superintendent John Carver down to the teachers, such as Shannon Miller, there was a common focus in regards to their goals and direction.   They knew where they were going and why.
Everyone seemed to be on the same digital ‘page’ so to speak. Solid planning clearly had occurred at Van Meter.

If you are thinking of planning a one to one or BYOD  initiative what steps might you take?

Steps for Planning One to One / BYOD

Listen

Learn about what other schools are doing so that you can learn from their process, their challenges, their successes
Consider the ways in which one to one learning suits your school’s needs
Consult existing technology plans and existing academic plans and goals. Hopefully, they are integrated.
Talk to students about how they will use the technology and adapt to the changes. Gather their input

Select the Tech

Investigate various equipment – Laptops, netbooks, tablets, cell phones. Include insurance fees.
Choose software applications and web tools that will support learning best
Update bandwidth and electrical as needed

Pilot

Choose a group of teachers and/or students who can implement early
Get student input on the progress
Get teacher input on the benefits and challenges
Monitor progress and evaluate the program
Make a list of changes that are needed before broad-scale implementation
Get excellent professional development and encourage individual teacher professional learning

Collaborate

Consult existing plans and expand them as needed
Bring students into the planning and evaluation processes
Allow teachers time to collaborate on best practices, best resources
Create and mold policies to support the learning

Educate the Community

Make sure that you include parents in the process
Share the academic goals and strategies which are being employed
Advise them of policy changes
Advise them of their role in supporting their child’s use

Implementation Time

A Philadelphia school, Mercy Vocational High School, is embarking on a one to one program for the 2011-2012 school year. They are blending one to one and bring your own device.

  • One to One Netbooks  for the freshmen and sophomores
  • Bring Your Own Device for juniors and seniors

It was a multifaceted approach to planning for Mercy Vocational High School says administrator Catherine Glatts. They covered all of the bases from technical to administrative to professional development to community support well in advance.

 

On Listening: ‘What helped us most was connecting with other schools who were already implementing some kind of 1:1 program. I listened to their lessons learned.’ Catherine Glatts, Mercy Vocational High School

 

On Educating the Entire Community: ‘Our administration is on-board with technology. They have been very supportive in moving the technology program forward.
Benefactors helped to make it reasonable for our students since many could not afford to buy their own netbook.’

On Professional Development: ”We trained our faculty and continue to train them. Faculty acted as students for a day, carrying the netbooks and using online tools.
We focused on just two tools to teach them at first: Google Apps and Edmodo. I, as an administrator, shared many google docs with my faculty so they had an opportunity to understand Google docs.  We also set up a faculty group in Edmodo to share ideas and promote other interesting links and tools.’

On Collaboration: ‘I have a  fantastic tech team to help promote the technology. They are always willing to help whomever needs help.’

On Selecting Tech: ‘Having good bandwidth is important. We are still testing our bandwidth and upgrading our Internet service.’

 

In summary, listen to those who are doing it now and plan wisely. Our students are worth our absolute best efforts.  Successful planning for educational technology initiatives can make all the difference in the world. Plan well in advance on purpose and with purpose and create the 21st century classrooms our students deserve.

Related Resources

7 Critical Questions for Technology Planning - TechConnects

Van Meter Schools, Iowa

One to One Schools

Mercy Vocational

Speak Up Survey – On TechConnects

This is cross posted on School CIO published Tech and Learning

On TechConnects

September 14, 2011
by ncara
0 comments

Pressing Matters – Global Connections

It is amazing how easily connected technology wise today we are today. One thing that has become such a part of our lives is our quick ability to connect with others around the world. In these connections we come to learn about others, about their culture, their lives, their challenges and needs. This becomes especially important when you are talking about education. Educating and caring for our children is so very important. Depending on where we are, we  may take access to quality education for granted. Yet some manage to literally reach around the world to make a difference!

Global Connections

India

I have written before in this space about a connection to a school in India fostered by my uncle who lived there as a Jesuit priest for most of his life. Though he passed away last year, his dream of building a school in India continues. Efforts continue on behalf of  St. Paul School in Panabir, India.

Cambodia

I am happy to share another global education story this time through family members Tom and Anne Caramanico. Through their exploration, dedication  and generosity, they have reached out to needy children in Cambodia and built a school there.Anne as a gifted artist continues to work to benefit and raise money for the school. They have created several Youtube videos where you can see the happy faces of the children and see their new school.

Pressing Matters Video

Hear Anne in her latest video talk about ‘Pressing Matters’ – how her passion for art and the children’s education have intersected. All of  the money raised from the sale of her artwork goes to the school. Inspirational!

In both of these schools, students here have connected with children on the other side of the world. They were able to learn so much. They learned of differences but also of ways in which they were the same. New global connections were forged.

Learning Team – Related Story

Anne’s Website – Donations

September 14, 2011
by ncara
1 Comment

Professional Learning and Social Networking

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.
(Galileo Galilei)

In order for educators to keep up with the latest and most effective classroom practices and technologies ongoing professional learning is essential. Professional development has always played an important role in education. However, professional development has an entirely new look these days. Many educators today are finding that social networking helps them to find within themselves and online the means for continuous, effective professional development. The traditional ‘sit and get’ style of professional development is rapidly being eclipsed by new and exciting forms of professional learning thanks in large part to social networking.
Powered by dedicated educators, professional learning via social networking is happening anytime and anywhere. Tune in to Twitter, Classroom 2.0, or to Facebook for example and what you will see is a new but firmly established practice for professional learning for educators. By all indications this will continue to grow.

The Pew Research Center in a recent Internet and American Life Project study found that Social Networking is on the rise in the adult population. Recent surveys show that 65% of adult internet users now use a social networking site. Pew Research found additionally that mobile access in adults is expanding. They report that 83% of adults now have cell phones and 35% of those have smartphones.

Why is Social Networking for Professional Learning Growing?

1. Time – Teachers can learn what they need when they need it at times convenient to them. They don’t have to wait for the next scheduled workshop for example.
2. Money – Social networks are largely free. Resources are shared openly.
3. Self Direction – Teachers can pursue topics of interest at their own pace.
4. Empowerment – Teachers are empowered to implement new practices in their own schools through support of those in their networks. They can make connections to other educators and professionals who can enhance the learning in their classrooms.
5. Access – Teachers have more access than ever before. Expanding internet access and portable options in computing such as tablets and netbooks make it easier for teachers to connect online.

How Can Educators Learn with Social Networking?

● Share Lessons
● Collaborate on Projects
● Form Professional Learning Communities
● Make Global Connections
● Learn about Emerging Technologies
● Discuss Challenges and Solutions

What Are Educators Saying?

Talk to some educators involved in social networking for professional learning and you’ll notice that they are enthusiastic about the benefits to them as professionals and to their students.
Jim Meredith, Assistant Principal for Academics at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia Pennsylvania has incorporated Twitter, Facebook, Social Bookmarking and online communities into his daily professional learning for the past several years.

‘Social networking is a vital component to professional growth. If Google, in fact, lets us “stand on the shoulders of giants” then social networking allows us to connect with these giants. In these tough economic times, when districts all over are cutting back, often at the expensive of professional growth and development, Twitter allows educators to enhance their PD portfolio, at no cost. When used effectively, teachers can “follow” each other, learn from each other, and therefore, connect with one another. I have used Twitter to connect with and learn from some of the real thinkers in our field today. They have stretched my thinking and, ultimately, not only does that help me grow, it helps my students grow as well. “ says Meredith.

Gene Carboni, Technology Teacher at Fr. Judge High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania feels that social networking for professional development has made a real difference in his professional growth and ultimately for the growth of his students.

“I am very passionate about doing whatever I can to make myself better at what I do – teach. Social Networking along with my three year affiliation with the PLP online community our Archdiocesan schools participated in, have provided me the opportunity to expand my skill set and talk to educators and experts from around the world. I have had conversations or commented on Twitter while sitting on the deck during the summer, in my classroom while on break and countless other times too numerous to mention. Best of all, I am better at what I do because of these online conversations in learning communities and Twitter exchanges. If I am better professionally then my students will benefit as well because of the changes I have made in my approach to our profession. “

Professional Learning Standards

As practices change, professional organizations are also acknowledge this emerging trend. Learning Forward, a professional association focused on student achievement and professional learning made up of over 49 entities, recently released new standards. In these standards, released in August of 2011, they recognize the active role of educators in their own learning and the powerful impact of anytime anywhere learning. Support from sources such as this and from school districts can support educators as they explore a new professional learning landscape.

With student engagement being the goal of all professional learning, dedicated educators and striving school districts continue daily to explore many options on behalf of their students. They may likely find that there is much to be discovered through effective professional oriented social networking. It seems as though the ‘sky is the limit’. Explore them for yourself and you are sure to make a connection that opens your classrooms to a world of learning.

Related Resources

Learning Forward – - New Standards
Pew Data on Use of Social Networking by Adults
Project Tomorrow – Speak Up Survey 2010

 

Cross Posted on Acer Education Blog