Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Moving Forward...

Moving forward is what we do every day; time doesn't stop. Our students arrive with tools in their pockets to communicate, create, and collaborate with the world. This is the world they live in, and to which their futures depend.

As a result, our School Board places technology application as an important focus. The PEC, Parent Education Committee, has followed that lead and helped provide that technology both in classrooms for students and for teachers to enhance teaching and learning.

The students are ready and are expecting the use of technology in their lessons.

Teachers are finding time to learn tools students already know and use. It's not easy to find that time, but the tools allow for easy communication and collaboration.  Our Tech Team meetings often occur via a Google Document, so members can add ideas and suggestions at their convenience rather than requiring an "in person" meeting. Our Tech Inventory is a Google Form/Spreadsheet. Our Opportunity Room personnel receive notices of student arrivals via a Google Form from the teachers. The 6-8 teachers share data and information via Google Docs, Engrade Online, and Planbook Edu. The staff access and add all events in a Staff Events Google Calendar to keep current with events, activities, and professional development at school.  The testing schedule is updated with any changes.

Our Google Documents allow for instant updates: rather than send email back and forth, our Google Apps (documents, forms, spreadsheets, presentations, sites, and blogs) allow for easy access, communication, and collaboration to stay informed and share data. Pieces of paper that end up in piles or in folders are replaced by documents online. Access is therefore 24/7 from any connected computer; updates are automatic-- so changes are known as soon as the document is updated. Our school is moving into the "cloud," and our staff is moving forward into that cloud.

Some teachers provide parent communication through blogs and email, sites and Google Docs.

Our teachers can now "walk through" each others' classrooms, document what is seen on iPads, and gather data in a visual picture of our school to help us reflect and improve what we do to help student learning.

What does this mean? 

It means that our school's leaders expect and promote us to be progressive in our application of technology, ahead of many other school districts. ASCD, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development recently published Insights Into Action: Successful School Leasers Share What Works. Chapter Seven refers to "learning walks" with iPhones, which is what we do in our "Walk Throughs" with iPads. These school leaders use the tools we use to collaborate to improve school learning by sharing data and ideas, reflections and resources.  

Lyn Hilt read this important book, and as another progressive elementary school principal, she wrote a blog post, Successful School Leaders Today Need to Harness Technology and Social Media, suggesting technology applications for others to learn and use, and these suggestions are what we at Nespelem School also apply in our teaching and learning, so that our students are ready for the technology in their futures.

Here's an example from another of Lyn's blogs, the Principal's Posts:

"I started and shared a Google doc through our school Google Apps and invited each teacher. Very quickly, we populated the doc with an outline of the day, the main components we’d be learning about, and then I sent a jovial chat to another teacher to wake her up at this early hour. The chat box quickly became a backchannel where we started a) offering critical feedback on the presentation and b) sharing ideas with one another. In the words of Chris Wejr: ”BOOM!” So we inserted a table into the doc and the resources and links spilled in as the day went on." This is the chat from these teachers' "professional learning community" meeting:

Just like these teachers in another school, and in many schools, our teachers also use Google Apps to plan and develop resources to promote student learning. We aren't all there yet, but we are "moving forward."

So  when you see our administrators, our School Board of Directors, our Parent Education Committee members, and our staff, thank them  for "moving forward."

Please remember this is a school-related site. Model digital citizenship. Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please remember this is a school-related site. Model digital citizenship. Thank you.