Friday, August 14, 2009

Instructional Technology Resources

by Layne Henn
Here is a website with a wealth of resources for instructional technology. There is even a link to a podcast and to a blog where you can hear about and find even more ideas for your classroom students.
The Ohio Treasure Chest is put together by teachers and tech. support staff at North Canton City Schools in Canton, OH.
Blogging in the classroom
writing and critical thinking!

by Layne Henn

Here's an article posted last week on a blog I read regularly about starting blogs with students in your classroom. He has attached links on how to get started, and setting the purpose with your students. He's found that bloggers aren't just writers, they are critical thinkers and put their mind to reading what other bloggers have to say. The author also makes suggestions about having blog-read-alouds with your class.
wikis are another great way to get your students writing and responding critically to writing.
A blog is pretty easy to setup with the SOCS system we are currently using here in Sioux City. Free wiki's are available at

How do we stack up...evaluating our technology integration

by Layne Henn

I received some good feedback from the last article about not going to "gadget crazy" in our classrooms.
It raised a couple questions for me. What is good? How do we interpret if what teachers/kids are doing in the classroom with technology is really making a difference.?

Below are a couple of good articles that help to ask some simple questions about how and why are we integrating tech.

Here's a excerpt from the Jeff Utecht article on the TechLearning Blog:

I remembered a Marc Prensky article in Edutopia in which he talks about the typical process of technology adoption:

Dabbling with technology
Doing Old things in Old Ways
Doing Old things in New Ways
Doing New things in New Ways

What if we turned these stages of technology adoption into questions that an evaluator could use during the evaluation process?

Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
This could be a simple list that any evaluator can use to decipher how the technology is being used in a particular lesson.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My First Week as a Technology in Curriculum Coach

Excited, nervous, eager...describes how I felt Monday morning as I drove to the ESC to begin this new position. I don't know if I've ever been so excited for the first day of school since my first teaching position.

First thing on Monday, Jamie (the other coach) and I divided our school assignments. I have the Westside feeder elementary buildings along with Clark & Bryant. We brainstormed how to effectively meet our building's BLT goals and will touch base with each principal to discuss how to proceed with this. I'm really excited about that, but am waiting a bit because I know it is such a busy time of year. We rounded out the day with a presentation from & how their web-based program can help our district in differentiating activities. I especially liked how the teacher lessons can be used with our new e-instruction interactive whiteboards, Mobis, and student responders.

On Tuesday I uploaded some of our .pdf files for the language arts curriculum to our website. When we went to West Middle to adjust the projectors, I was able to test my links to see if they worked. (They didn't) While troubleshooting, I discovered that my permissions didn't allow me to install Java, which is just a small hiccup, but noteworthy. I was also involved in a conference call about the upgrades to Pinnacle--which is an awesome step for our district. (BTW...I'm a big Pinnacle fan--it totally made my life easier when I was in the classroom & helped the students to keep track of their progress as well as missing assignments.)

Wednesday morning was an IT/MIS meeting...which I am very glad to have been a part of. I am amazed at the knowledge of these "techies." Jamie and I spent the rest of the afternoon in some of the elementary buildings. Getting out into the field and troubleshooting was HUGE for me! We were able to address several technical issues which are sure to arise as we roll out this 21st Century Classroom initiative.

Thursday brought us to West High School for the Netbook pilot. Kudos to the teachers for all their investment into this project. Moodle is an awesome tool, but definitely takes some effort to learn. I worked during the afternoon to create a Jeopardy PPT game for the North Middle Staff to use with the responders. I didn't realize how difficult it is and how creative you must be to "state your answer in the form of a question." I guess I'll still be working on that Friday morning before I head off to the new teachers' meeting.

Week 1 Aug. 10-14

This week was a good week. I have had a great deal thrown my way but I am learning every day. Spent a great deal of time on Monday learning about Seems to be a great piece of technology for our district. Tuesday we spent some time learning about the new pieces of Pinnacle we will be bringing on board. Awesome solution that is very needed for our district. i also spent some time building a remote quiz that will be used during the New Teacher Orientation. Also built a ppt. for the Red Cat presentation we will be doing at Roosevelt. On Wednesday we spent some time going out to buildings and setting up and trouble shooting some of the technology. We set up and played with the Red Cat Audio, and also the dual board. While we spent quite awhile at our first school, it allowed us to only spend 5-10 minutes at the following schools. Much needed time to figure out what was going on.On Thursday we spent time at West High to discuss the Netbooks, moodle, etc.