Showing posts with label eTech Conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label eTech Conference. Show all posts

Friday, February 17, 2012

Teacher as the Student

Being a student is a lot easier than it used to be.  If class gets a little boring, you can just check your email, text someone, or surf the Internet.  It's also easier to not get bored because you can check out sites and information the teacher discusses.  At least, that's how it was for me this week when I was a student at the Etech (Ohio Educational Technology) Conference. 

In every session I attended, participants were on their laptop, IPad, or smart phone.  I did see one or two note takers with their legal pad, but they stuck out.  A lot of sessions were interactive and presenters made it a point to share links and involve attendees.  Sessions were obviously planned by the presenters to encourage the use of technology.

Admittedly, as a student, I haven't always been attentive and have been challenged with being a little too hyper to sit in class for very long.  One of my goals when I started teaching was to shut up, keep students busy, and let them learn through their own hard work.  I have always hated classes where the teacher stands in front of the class and talks and talks and talks and talks. 

I couldn't help but think about how different adults are treated than kids.  Maybe it's about having a captive audience with our students.  Imagine how involved they would be if everything they did was interactive.  Imagine how different teachers would be if their students could start texting or surfing the net when they got bored.  It might not be totally a good thing, but it would sure liven up some classes.

The best part of an opportunity like the Etech Conference is the chance to hear about what other teachers are doing and what is working in their classes.  This year's conference had a lot of excellent sessions and ideas for the classroom.  I am anxious to try them in the Reading Workshop classes.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day in the Life of a Technology Coordinator

John Rundage, the Technology Coordinator for Logan Elm Schools described his routine and responsibilities at a presentation at the Ohio eTech Conference. In his informative session he discussed how he keeps the district running, maintaining the hardware and software while also planning, budgeting, and training teachers.

As he states on the Logan Elm Technology Blog I have a daily routine that starts before I walk in my office. I get up at 4:30am and get ready for work. By 5:15, I start the coffeemaker and pickup my Blackberry to look at the messages that came in overnight.

From this early morning start, until the end of the day, Mr. Rundag attempts to keep the districts computers running. The fact that he is, for the most part, responsible for 800 computers and 10 servers, in six buildings running Windows, Linux (Ubuntu), and Mac operating systems is an unbelievable task. At the same time, that he is maintaining the system's security, he is also installing software and building a library of video tutorials for teachers.

As Rundag continued his presentation describing the progression of his day, Tech. Coordinators from around the state of Ohio listened in, grabbing ideas to use in their own districts. Many seemed amazed that one person could do all that John is doing, while still finding time to explore new ideas.

The fact that Laurelville has such a strong technology-centered approach to education is only possible because of the support we receive. Very few schools have a computer for every student in their language arts classes. Without Mr. Rundag's never-ending help it would never happen. The details from A Day in the Life of a Tech Coord show how much hard work goes into making technology work at Logan Elm Schools.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blending Learning and Technology

Wesley Fryer, an educator and agent for the combination of learning and technology in schools spoke at the Ohio eTech Educational Technology Conference. As the author of the blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Fryer frequently posts about applying innovative techniques in the classroom. His presentation is available here.

Attending a conference, most people hope to bring home one or two ideas that will help improve on what they are doing. Listening to Mr. Fryer, it quickly became obvious that his message during the keynote address to open the conference had numerous thoughts and ideas for educators.

The need for integrating Web 2.0 into the daily lives of students was mentioned throughout the speech. Collaboration and connectivity were main themes. Fryer modeled this using videos, personal stories, and time for sharing with peers.

As we move through the second half of the school year, following his lead and thinking, students will have numerous opportunities for exploration and growth. Currently students are working on writing posts for the blog, and commenting on online journals. This is a great start, but only the beginning.

As we follow the ideas set forth by Wesley Fryer, students will have numerous opportunities to use technology to increase their learning. He commented frequently about blending technology and learning. This is what makes Reading Workshop engaging for the students and the teacher.

Before the end of the year, students will have chances to incorporate research, with music and videos while building a digital portfolio, including guest posts on this blog, of their writing that will travel with them as they move on towards Jr. and Sr. High School.


Monday, February 2, 2009

When the Cat's Away, Web 2.0 Saves the Day

I am attending the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference on February 2-4. As anyone who has ever been a classroom teacher can attest, one of the biggest problems of being out for professional development is school still goes on. The teacher must write plans for the substitute teacher, explaining the daily routine in detail, and plan lessons so that the sub can understand them (lucky for me that I have a great sub. Thanks Mr. Fraley), and in such a way that learning will still take place.

This is a tremendous challenge for all teachers, to the extent that many just choose not to be out of the class. However, many of the best ideas I use in my class every day originated at the eTech conference. In fact, I wrote a post previously, discussing many of the contributions the conference has made to my school and my classroom. Consequently, I find myself traveling to the 2009 conference.

So when the cat's away, the mice will play. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for the mice er students, in Reading Workshop, everything they are doing while I am gone can be tracked. Thanks to the Internet, and using Web 2.0 in the classroom, all of their work is "out there."

Students took a Study Island Benchmark Test today. Great job to Lily, Bree, Austin, Makayla, Christian W., Desire', Heather, Rachael, Ryan, Jessika, and Kayla. As I sat at home and looked at your test results, I can tell that you worked hard. In fact, GREAT JOB! If you are one of the students I just named, you will be successful. You obviously do not need a teacher breathing down your neck to make you work. You are succeeding for all of the right reasons.

Students had the option of commenting on the blog when they finished with their benchmark test. Some students had insightful comments that were worth reading and thinking about. Thanks to Heather, Desire', Christian W., Bree, and Sam. However, there were a few comments that students would never have attempted to post, if I had been there. That tells me that these students need to raise their standards, for their own sake, instead of just doing a good job when the teacher is watching.

Tomorrow students are writing a letter about their SSR book. This is an assignment that they have done a few times in the past. They know how to do it. The key will be, how much effort they are willing to put forth to do a good job. If they save their work on LEWriting, our Google Writer website, I can easily check their progress.

Students are also logging on their online journal on wikispaces each day. In just a few seconds, I can check and see how much they read, their response to what they read, and if they are comprehending their SSR book. Plus, if someone (like Rachael) decides to make the extra effort and log on at home, I will be able to check this, and know a student deserves credit for putting forth the work to be successful.

Thankfully, I can spend three days learning, and still know everything that takes place in the classroom. A connected classrooom leaves no doubt in my mind what students accomplish each day while I am gone. When they cat's away .... some mice keep working hard--WOW, do they deserve a good job.

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