Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reflections In Blogging: or What did I really learn in this Class?

Looking back I truly had no idea of what to really expect from this course. Things have been different than I envisioned. The outcomes wound up involving a much more hands on approach to technology tools. These include some awesome readings and videos that help us see where we are headed and how we must fit technology into the big picture. I now see technology more clearly as a cornerstone that unlocks the door to learning for children. Children who are digital "natives" who are learning who are learning much differently than ever before. I believe the outcomes of this class are more satisfying than I ever could have dreamed. The combination of hands on practical use and the broad overview of technology issues explained more clearly in the video and the readings have been invaluable for me as a future campus leader.
I expected a much more cerebral outlook on technology with not as much practical hands on work. The staff members at my school know now that Coach Wright has a blog! I am quite proud of this accomplishment. I never really truly envisioned this.
The outcomes of this class clearly speak to the relevance of technology and how and where it fits into the vision of NCLB. A better awareness of technology needs have been addressed in the StarChart and also by looking at national technology standards. This course and its outcomes speak to our campus as a developing PLC. I can utilize this knowledge to help our subject area teams collaborate developing shared knowledge database to enhance student learning in a number of ways. The issue of staff development is also key. Just listen to the quote from curriculum coordinator Shonda Canon at Denison High School "One big professional development push for our district this summer is going to be the integration of SMART Board lessons/games into our curriculum. It is one thing that we have been given the grant money to buy them, but another thing altogether to integrate/use them in the most effective manners!"
We are all about student learning as a PLC. To accomplish this task we must follow the guidelines and directives from NCLB for accountability to improve learning. In this regard we are making great progress. Many of our faculty members are learning how to use technology and data to help the learning process. We share information at a very rapid pace as part of our daily routine. We are forming the successful habits of collaboration and technology is a huge part of it. Digital immigrants are learning from digital natives with the use of Smart Boards and other great technology tools to reach more students and give added breadth and depth to learning in the classroom. This is also leading to new strategies shared in our team meetings.
I still feel somewhat awed by how much NCLB has impacted technology in the classroom. In looking at the great deal of information available in this course it is somewhat hard to completely digest. It seems you just have to "do it." That is to take an active part in the process of utilizing technology more efficiently. In this regard class has been an awesome success. I am still trying to grasp the big picture though.
I am not completely sure why I am still struggling with the big picture. Most likely because much of the information and suggestions mentioned in this course are new. I learned that I personally like moving toward technology use but am somewhat leery of the change in school policies regarding technological devices. I adapted well to learning how to blog. I find it almost like a journal or diary. I am excited because I see how useful it can be to share knowledge. It can also be bad in that some people may use this knowledge in a negative way. As a school leader I must make sure to keep children safe by keeping the blog network as safe as possible to use. I also must educate all users in proper ethics. This must truly be done by all teachers and reinforced by all staff and stakeholders. It is too important an issue to not promote at the forefront of all technology discussions and lessons. I also have some concerns regarding the motives of others and how or what they might do with the knowledge of some information or picture(s) disclosed on the internet. What about my responsibility too as far as protecting the school district? I do not want myself and or the district to be held liable because someone shared some information on a school related or sponsored blog or Wiki.
Blogs can be a very valuable tool in education. A blog may be used to share information with school and community stakeholders. What an awesome way to promote the school campus. We could even link blogs together in our school community. This is a great way to communicate positively to students and parents too. Individual classes and teachers can have their own blogs where information can be shared. It could also be very valuable in developing an identity and esprit d├ęcors in extracurricular activity groups.

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