Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mini Grants and Training Starting to Pay Off

Photo by Olga Belobaba

As I have described in some of my previous posts this year I am facilitating a mini grant program in my district.  In addition, I have worked with my co technology coach, media specialists, and other teachers to make available numerous trainings on a variety of tech integration strategies.  These programs are both firsts in our district. While these initiatives have led to many successes and increases in capacity for tech integration amongst teachers, admin, and support staff, this week 3 things have happened that really made me realize the potential of the programming we put in place this year.

Social networking with Kindles - This week I started working with an English teacher who was funded for a set of  Kindles in his classroom. I suggested using Twitter to let kids share comments on what they are reading with each other (at home or at school) and to eventually tap into what other people on Twitter are saying about the books/authors that the kids are reading. He is excited to give this a try and we are working out the tech kinks before getting kids started next week.

Collecting Data With iPads/Google Forms - a Health teacher who came to a Google Forms training this week came up with idea of having her students use iPads combined with a Google Form to collect data from other students during lunch.  She then wants to have the students analyze the data, draw conclusions, and publish it to their blogs.

Using Wikis and Google Docs to support Alternative Ed Students - The principal at our alternative school, for which we had funded a classroom set of netbooks, had arranged for an all staff training on Google Docs earlier this year.  I stopped by to chat with him this week and he shared with me how he felt that using Google Docs combined with wikis had really been a game changer for him this year.  His students have a high absence rate but because of these tools he and his staff are able to post content, tutorials, and videos that students could access anywhere and anytime which allowed his staff to provide a more flexible learning environment for students. He then asked what else I would recommend; looks like we'll be doing a Twitter/Blogging training in a few weeks:)

These are just a few of the exciting things that are happening in our district as a result of giving teachers and students access to technology and then supporting them through training, coaching, and tech support.

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