Monday, February 22, 2010

Must See Monday #7 - Technology Integration...One School at a Time

Let me tell you about what is going on at my school.  I feel that the changes related to technology that we are implementing are a Must See...well, a Must Read.  I am currently working as a Technology Integration Specialist in the first year of a two year grant program to help increase and integrate the use of technology by both teachers and students.  My school is in currently in a Trimester schedule.  Each trimester I will be working with a different subject (English, Math, Social Studies, Science, and the final two trimesters are still in the works) to assist teachers with the development of lesson plans integrating technology and using technology equipment in their classroom.  Until this year, technology was rather limited in our school.  We have plenty of computer labs, but outside of teacher computer stations, teachers had very little of anything else.

The equipment includes:
1.) FLIP Camera
3.) SMART Airliner/ Slate
4.) Digital Camera
5.) Digital Video Camera
6.) Projector
7.) Laptop
8.) Turning Point Clicker System.

We are also using a multitude of Web 2.0 software that I have showcased through this blog.  Teachers have thoroughly enjoyed using Wordle, The Hero Factory, Glogster, Wallwisher, and some have used Prezi.  I have also worked at introducing teachers to RSS and Blogging, as well as encouraging creating a PLN on Twitter.  We have had several teachers who have really enjoyed and completely integrated Turning Point into their classroom as well.  Several have replaced paper quizzes with the software.  

Students have also been active in using Glogster as part of technology projects.  Another major project completed by students has been the creation of Webpages.  Students in English classrooms completed Book Reviews, and students in Math classrooms have completed websites explaining math concepts and math in the real world.  Students have also created cartoons and comics in their classrooms.  Comics were really successful in the math classrooms as well.  When I work with Social Studies I am hoping to implement Timeline websites.

As part of the grant, each department receives money to purchase technology equipment as long as they met the guidelines for the Grant.  Recently the English and Math teachers were able to choose some equipment they would like to have in their classroom.  The English teachers requested and have received 5 FLIP Cameras, 2 Projectors, and 5 Document Cameras.  In the math department we were able to get every teacher a projector.  We also were able to provide 3 Document Cameras and an Airliner to math teachers as well.  I have spent much of the past two weeks during the school day installing and setting up the technology equipment as well as training teachers on how to use the equipment.  It is important to note that we have more than tripled the amount of technology in our school this year alone.  

I was provided a cart with the same equipment, and I realized that trying to get teachers to schedule its use was not nearly as successful as just placing the cart in their classroom and giving them the opportunity to see how they would use it.  I realized it was difficult for teachers to plan a lesson including the technology.  They were much more successful when I provided the equipment, and they just took the lessons they had already developed for those days and integrated the technology into what they were already doing.  I had one teacher who realized she would use a Document Camera in every class!  Now I just need to get them to see the extra features of the camera that would make their teaching so much easier.

In several instances we were able to use the SMART Airliner to take an individual assignment a student would work on and make it into a classroom assignment.  In English, we placed a worksheet under the Document Camera and then passed around the Airliner for students to digitally write the answers to the questions.  It was thoroughly enjoyed by students.  It completely changed the impact of the lesson and the teachers were really pleased with the reactions of the students to using the technology.

I have been thoroughly impressed with what many teachers in my school have done with technology in their classrooms, considering it was really an afterthought to their lessons prior to this year.  Several teachers have completely bought into the program.  Several are still working to integrate technology on a regular basis, and are improving as they get adjusted to the idea.

I am sure there are other schools out there who are implementing similar programs.  What are your schools doing?  I know many teachers use technology, but what about your school, outside your classroom?  Be interesting to see what else is going on out there.
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