Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beginning of Change

I recall last spring during my interview saying that I believe our district is at the tipping point when it comes to instructional technology, and the majority of my work this past week is the beginning of this "tipping."

If you recall from one of my previous posts that I had a "fire in my belly" about the new direction this district has committed to by requiring technology classes in the middle school, then you will see what a HUGE step this is. I'm a little jealous of the middle school technology teachers, because that was the position I left behind; but to be a direct part of this paradigm switch is the reward. So, my work this week consisted of reviewing our standards, benchmarks, and core indicators and updating them to reflect the 21st Century skills our students need, yet are currently lacking. Then...we had to take these core indicators to create our NCLB 8th grade technology assessment. With some awesome feedback and input from our very talented and knowledgeable middle school tech teachers, we have a nice draft to present in an upcoming meeting.

I was also able to land in a first grade classroom this week. My goal was to see how doable the CPS responders were with the little ones. I built a patterns activity/quiz using CPS for PowerPoint. For a lot of people, PowerPoint is a familiar application, and is kind of a natural starting place. It is a nice feature of CPS. I intentionally created this lesson with only two answers per question (A or B)...just to eliminate some of the confusion. I also set my lesson up to automatically send the answer, rather than having the student have to press"A" and then "send." (BTW...I am not a fan of the design of the new responders, the undo and send buttons can be confusing for some) But I eliminated this concern by bypassing that button.

The first graders did wonderful with this, and the reports that CPS generated provided nice feedback about each student's understanding of patterning. Working with these little ones was another reward for me, but perhaps the biggest reward of the week came when the teacher told me I had renewed her interest in using these devices.

This week was a big win...

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