Vision-From the Top Trickling Down

why-you-teach.jpgStill pondering on many ideas from NECC, and…one of the main things running around in my head is: OK, how does this work on a day to day basis in the classroom? Teachers are going to use what is useful to them.  A teacher may not have ever heard of the term Web 2.0, or even care about it, but if a blog, wiki, interactive whiteboard activity, videoconference, virtual field trip, or some open source applicaction will help his/her kids grasp the content in a more meaningful way, then they will be all over it.

So..how do we get from ideas in Atlanta to classrooms in Austin?

I don’t know……

Scott McCleod, in Vision Challenge 1, at Dangerously Irrelevant  mentions the end products that I think are meaningful for everyday classroom practice, even in elementary schools. Below is a quote from him:

           Can we articulate in a few short sentences or paragraphs what the end result looks like? Children learning collaboratively, students as self-directed learners, a computer in every kid’s hand, ubiquitous Internet access, creative problem-solving rather than rote memorization, global interconnections, etc.

I believe Scott’s ideas are, indeed, what an engaged classroom looks like.   An engaged classroom being a place where student’s experiences and learning last longer and have a deeper impact than the upcoming state test.

techlab.jpgOur Internet access in our school district… could… be considered ubiquitous. So we have one thing going for us. Access to computers is growing, we are about at 2 machines for one student right now. Our goal is 1-to-1, whatever that will look like in the near future.

But the other important parts of a meaningful educational experience for students and teachers: collaborative learning, self-directed learners, creative problem solving, global interconnections, and the other 21 century skills that are being articulated,  are not going to be achieved with a bond election.

techprimary.jpgWhile much focus has been directed towards developing higher order thinking skills, differentiation, collaborative learning, and creative problem solving in our district, and while a lot of this can be seen in classrooms across the district…having our technology as  seamlessly integrated as our paper, markers, pens and pencils,  is still on the horizon.

In order to try to close this gap, I have a two-fold plan: 1. a shotgun approach and 2. taking direction from our WHS Vision Committee, written about by Carolyn Foote in her Innovative Leadership-paying it forward blog at Not So Distant Future.

The shotgun approach is about sharing ideas with whoever is ready to use them, whenever and however it works for them. It is also about exposing everybody to practical uses of wikis, blogs, global learning opportunities, and a few open source applications using “tech moments” at faculty meetings, “lunches in the lab” on a monthly basis, and informal opportunities as they arise.

vision-committee.jpgTaking direction from our WHS (Westlake High School) Vision Committee might not be as immediate. It may take time to interpret and articulate what their vision of a 21 century learner looks like as a kindergartener or 3rd grader.

 So… stay tuned for snapshots  of what the vision trickling down looks like throughout the schoolyear.

Photos from Carolyn Foote

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