First of all...thank you to Patti for keeping us all connected with her regular messages and her diligent postings to the summer planning website. I appreciate all the hard work that goes into keeping us informed, and the summary on the website is a concise way to review the discussion.
Thank you to Ellen, Carla, Marilyn, David, and Isamu who have contributed their thoughts toward our summer topics. The list is quite comprehensive now.
These are the only thoughts I have to add at the moment:
1) What are successful ways to work with teachers that do not consider technological literacy important or their responsibility?
2) How can teachers manage everything they are asked to do by the district, state, society? Are there secrets to working smarter, not harder? More and more our teachers are feeling pulled in too many directions and they are at a breaking point. In Hawaii, the classroom teacher is being expected to pick up the slack as programs and resource personnel are cut.
Finally, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to Lynne Sueoka at the DOE Technology conference this past Friday. I was so glad to meet her face to face! 8)
Have a good week everyone!
Pam: These are things that I would also be interested in having my teachers learn. Technology sometime lends itself to the excuses of not enough equipment, time, or know-how. While some are excited about exploring, others can't see investing the time and energy.
As a computer resource teacher, I try to get the technology into all the teachers hands knowing that the children are the losers if the teacher is the barrier. Inevitably, there is always reach that point. It's like the analogy, "Lead a horse to the water".."Can't get them to dive in and drink".
We need a "hook" to entice them. Interestingly it might not be a lesson plan out here in cyberspace that will lure them in. Searching for information about hotels in Florida in preparation for a visit might do it. In some cases we need to show teachers how technology can help *them* before we show them how it can help their students. That will follow right behind. There was an administrator in one of my Internet classes who was trying to decide what to search for as I was showing search engines. I suggested some topics I thought he might like. Umm.. nothing ... then I said, "Ok, how about golf?" His face beamed and he was gone - surfing, feeling more confident... and loving it.
Enthusiasm helps but the realization of accountability to curriculum standards and this or that benchmark skill always puts up another big wall that makes them back down and say, "I don't have time". That is why I am interested in alternative assessments since without that how do get those responsible teachers to loosen the reigns and start allowing the student to experience the impact of this medium and opportunities?
Everything sounds important. How to address it all becomes the greater challenge.
Patti: One of the best things about technology is the fact that assessment is built right in. If we are looking on the C drive for a file that is on a disk in drive A, we won't find it. With computers life is "pass/fail." If we don't do things correctly, they don't work. If we are making web pages and write the coding incorrectly, the page will not be right, images might not load or links will be broken.
This is one type of assessment. Another is more academic. When my students misspell words in their e-mail messages their friends write back and say, "I don't know what you mean."
Do teachers make portfolios for students? As my younger students are doing the Math Puzzles
that have been sent to us from our global friends they are typing the solution and how they found it in an e-mail message. I print hard copies of their work. ...writing across the math curriculm
When my second graders were studying "main idea" and "details" they wrote to their keypals in the UK and told them about the best present they had ever received. I asked them to include details in their message:
1. Who gave it to them?
As their friends replied I printed their messages and my students underlined their friends' main ideas and details. It was fun.
We are doing CTBS testing this week and as I monitored a first grade class this morning I was thinking of your question about assessments. I can't get these wheels to stop turning! ;-)
When weaving technology through our lessons we are still using the same learner outcomes that we have always had. Here's an example: The students are learning the metric system in math class. Right now we have many keypals from countries that use the metric system. Here's an activity that would still incorporate some skills that we have to teach in this unit.
1. Ask your teacher friend in Denmark (or any other country using metrics) to have his/her students send letters to your students telling them their height in meters and centimeters. When the letters arrive have your students calculate who is taller, their keypal or themselves? That's one activity. Then... Have your students write the height of their keypal in 2 different ways:
a. meters (as a whole number and decimal) -- 1.59 meters tall
Ask your class to measure the height of everyone in the class and then find a corresponding student in the class in Denmark who is nearly the same height.
Have your class send their height to their Danish friends in several forms:
a. 5 feet 2 inches
Here's a fun challenge. ;-) Bob (in the UK) wrote to my students to tell them about his dog that weighs 7 stone. Is this a big dog or a tiny dog?
This is just a tiny example. It still has the learner outcomes but now has an added dimension because the students are corresponding with those who really use the metric system. Encourage the students to write friendly letters to their Danish friends and list items in their stores that are labeled in metric and standard measurement, e.g. Pepsi bottles, etc. Now you can bring in some of your language arts learner outcomes while doing these letters. You can locate the Danish friends on a map using latitude and longitude. What is their time zone? The extension activities are endless.
Do these seem like possible ways to bring technology into our already existing curriculum requirements? You would still assess the students but perhaps an e-mail (showing an understanding of the concepts) would be given a "grade" according to a rubric that, ideally, you and the students have developed together.
...about "weeding through the sea of information"...
Some people have organized web sites with excellent references for teachers. Kathy Schrock's site is fantastic.
Is there a regional website that gathers all the best resources from your teachers in Hawaii? If someone gathered URL's for the topics in your curriculum per grade or content area and made them available on the WWW that would be helpful to all, yes? One person couldn't do it but if everyone shared and sent their "gems" to a central place would that help? I think so. For example....Grade 5 is studying Egypt. Here are some great web sites. Grade 6 is studying Greece. Here are some web sites and here is an e-mail address for schools in Athens who want to write to English speaking kids because they are trying to improve their English. [We got wonderful messages from our friends in Athens today! ;-) ]