Monday, August 10, 2009

Start of School - More

Tomorrow is the big day.  Summer vacation is over. Yesterday a colleague sent out a list of software items to cover during the extra time teachers will have during Ramadan. (UAE Ministry of Education guidelines have our school opening later and ending earlier for those students who are fasting [refraining from eating or drinking during the day, but often staying up late at night]).  The list reproduced below, bothered me.  At first I could not figure out why.  Then I realized it was just a list of software.  It was not addressing the "so what?" question.  If we are to be serious about integrating technology in meaningful ways, the technology needs to solve a problem for teachers in some way.

Please note that these topics are not all-inclusive. Attendants will bring questions.
First Class
  • Answer any questions about FC attendees may have
  • Web publishing
  • Mailbox Rules. Blocking Spam
  • Organizing your mailbox
  • Creating and managing Conferences and the users
  • Other minor items such as: Changing icons, Creating email templates, Recording your voice
  • Answer any questions about PowerTeacher attendees may have
  • Logging in, changing passwords
  • Gradebook setup. Straight points, Weighting and Standards
  • Printing reports
  • Creating class groups
  • Exporting gradebooks as spreadsheets
  • Comments for Assignments and Students (Comment Banks)
Directory Server
  • Logging in
  • Moving files around (Drop Box)
  • Using the Public web publishing folder
ACS Services/Software/Hardware
  • Subscription Services that ACS offers including: Library Subscription Services, Unitedstreaming, Brainpop, Nettrekker, Turnitin, Wordpress MU, MyAccess, etc. (exact dates/locations TBA)
  • OpenOffice (exact dates/locations TBA)
  • Promethean Interactive Whiteboards (exact dates/locations TBA)
  • Tinkerplots (exact dates/locations TBA)
  • Google Docs (exact dates/locations TBA)
  • Video and Still Camera usage (exact dates/locations TBA)
My suggestion was to reorganize the list according to problems that teachers might be having:
How do I share stuff with other teachers and students?
- Directory server
- FC web publishing
- FC folders

How can I communicate more effectively with parents, students, colleagues and admin?

How do I do my grades and reporting?

How do I create my class help page?
- FC web publishing

How can my students collaborate on documents?
-Google docs
- Word Press MU

How do I do ordering?

How can my students keep a reflective journal?
-Word press MU

How can I handle documents in different fomats?
-Open Office
-iWork tools

How can I take, organize, and share pictures of class activities?
-digital cameras
- directory server

How can I take, edit and share video?
-digital video cameras

How can my students improve their writing?

How can I pre-record and record my visuals for class
-Promethean white board

How can I share text, and artifacts, visual activities with my class?
-document camera

How do I prevent plagiarism in my classes?

What video libraries are available for my class?
-United Streaming

How do I create quick interactive surveys of what my students have learned?

This seemed like a better way to focus on teacher and student needs.  I also thought it would improve buy-in from the teachers.  My colleagues agreed with me, but it missed going out to the new hires, who got he original version.  The good news is that the conversation has already started to shift. I'm confident next time around we'll all be thinking about how to solve teachers' problems, instead of just giving them some tools that may be useful.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

You are so right! Just offering the tools is terribly ineffective. In order to utilize the technology, instruction is necessary. The ideal is subject area teachers working together with an "expert". The end result of lots of technology with no instruction is frustration. The suggestions your offered were a great idea!