Saturday, June 23, 2012
"What are we Doing here?" Every student having a device in class!?!? It does raise possibilities. On the spot research, new resources available on demand, new potential for collaboration. All of this is true. But we will also have a new landscape of planning and management to deal with. First, everyone's greatest concern - students will at times be disengaged from curriculum. They will take advantage of technology that they are very familiar with and use it in ways that don't coincide with our curricular concerns. Oh my! Oh my! (wring hands and fret). What are we to do? My response is, what makes this different from our classroom in the old paradigm. Haven't students always sought to learn and communicate about THEIR interests ahead of ours? Especially if we let them. What do I mean by that? Students have always opted out of our lessons if we didn't plan the activities to keep them essentially engaged. BYOD doesn't alter that element of our job. Instead of writing notes to their boyfriend or reading anything other than assigned text they are now playing games, engaged in social networks or watching video. Our task remains - engage students in authentic and essential ways. If we do that then billiards, poker, angry birds and bad singers will get moved to the background. I suppose it is a bit more intimidating to see that sea of devices open and operating in front of you when you are attempting to execute your carefully crafted lesson plan. The thought of what all those devices can bring to the party is daunting. We need to take advantage of them though, not ban them out of fear. We need to view them as tools that will serve our curricular interests and plan accordingly.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Going "Old School." We already have had our first network outage during our experiment with digital textbooks. No real problems other than the fact that we couldn't access our textbook at all during the day on Monday. One teacher said to me during the outage that they "hated" having to always have a "plan B" when planning around technology. I guess that is one of the issues we live with if we are going to rely on technology for delivery of instruction. I joked with my students that it was no problem for me, I could lecture for 5 hours and was sure they would enjoy that. But stability and reliability of network services are an issue. Students were remarkably resilient during the outage. Even those with web only ChromeBooks took notes on scratch pad until network services were restored. Aside from comments about the reliability of the network I don't think an outside observer would have known we were having an issue at all. I understand the concern about "double planning" all the time. I'm not sure its entirely valid. We all have to develop contingency plans for absences, and other events which disrupt our normal teaching routine. Technology usage creates a new set of contingencies perhaps, but also opens new doors to learning. The ability we have to develop enhanced learning environments and collaborative programs outweigh, I believe, the downsides that might occur on an emergent basis.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Welcome to "Hot Fun in the Summertime." I hope U.S. can be fun (at least at times) and I hope the digital pilot will be "fun" or at least interesting. I am creating this blog for a couple of reasons. First, I want a space where I can record my thoughts and observations about our experience this summer. I don't have a lot of blogging experience, so this will also serve as a little bit of a testing ground for me. Second, I want you guys to read my comments and post replies. Your comments will provide us with valuable data as we go forward with revamping our learning environments here at Glenbrook. Students might be interested to note that their input is being sought much more intentionally around current technology initiatives. This process is not being driven strictly by administrators or by hardware considerations (hence the BYOD nature of this pilot). What are the concerns? Obviously we are interested in the facility with which you can engage in your work using particular technology. But we are also interested in developing new models for learning taking advantage of technology to manage learning environments more efficiently and powerfully. So welcome to the experiment. I hope you don't mind being a test subject?!? I hope you will share your thoughts and experiences with us?!? I hope you will learn some U.S. History along the way! ! ! And maybe we can even have some fun!?!? Let me know!!!!!