Monthly Archives: October 2011
This past summer when I attended the Curriculum Mapping Institute with Heidi Hayes Jacobs I was so impressed with the integration of technology into the presentations, I set a professional goal this year to Walk the Talk, meaning, I cannot exhort people to integrate technology and NOT use it in my presentations. I decided I need to identify key technology tools and rather than just tell people about them, use them, let them use them and see naturally how they might have a potential impact on their classrooms.
Well, let me tell you how what went:
1. I used Today’s Meet: For the most part, people got on and did what we asked them to do, but some…well let’s just say some thought they should replicate what kids would do with such a tool. Now, I have used this tool many times in my own class and my students have only used it to do what I asked them to do. So that was fail #1.
2. Google Docs: Seemed like a good idea at the time, but wow, getting 50+ people on 18+ documents in groups of 3 took a lot more time than I thought it would. We found out several good things though: some people have accounts that are set in German and some just flat out could not get on. In the end, most people were able to get on the document to process a reading and then share their reading with others who had a different reading, but holy unnerving as I watched my precious PD time slip away! Fail #2.
3. Over-planned and inflexible: Maybe you should be prepared throw out parts or slow other parts down mid-stream. What I really saw in the end was people needed time to explore with support and others around them to help them navigate and understand the potential of a tool. But no, I was determined to finish my presentation, and I must admit I think some of the message might have been lost in the rapid fire delivery of stuffing 35 mins. of planned discussion and presentation into 20 mins. The big take away was supposed to be about assessment and I am worried it might have been about why not to use Today’s Meet as an instructional strategy. Potential Fail #3.
Wow, it was hard, frustrating, and as I stated before, unnerving. I realize I am quite the control freak when it comes to planning a presentation. I am always planned down to the minute, you never get out late (or early for that matter), and the technology…well using it really made me nervous. I am generally quite calm for a presentation precisely because I am so prepared, but the technology, the learning curve of using the technology for staff, and the constant adjusting left me thinking on my feet more than I am used to in a professional development session. My co-presenter Dana Watts was cool as a cucumber, maybe that is why she is the Tech Integrator and I am the Curriculum Facilitator
Walking the talk…it is still my goal in presentations, but I have to plan for the disruption and potential drag on my time. I think under-planning is key, but time is so precious in schools for professional development it is hard to see doing less, but I know that having less and making sure it is powerful will have a greater impact down the road. Patience Grasshopper.
Here’s Kate from Flickr
The article from the New York Times by Matt Richtel makes some powerful points, however I cannot help but think we are not soliciting data on the right things.
On the New Blooms Taxonomy, the highest order is now creativity. How do we assess this and how often to we assess our students ability to apply creativity to their process/products?
I don’t know how we can expect technology to demonstrate an impact on student learning when the standardized tests we use remain the same, year after year. Essentially what happens is more and more is piled on the plates of teachers. You need to address standards and benchmarks, you need to now also address NETS as well as your subject. Additionally, we have school goals we would like to see addressed and documented, but at the end of the day, from an assessment perspective if you only assess the subject area standards and benchmarks, most teachers in a press for time, will not address the other subsidiary learning. And I very purposefully use the work subsidiary because unless we design instruments to assess it, unless our reporting systems also change and require us to report on student achievement in relation to their ability to evaluate information, most people won’t teach it. You teach what you make explicit to teach, if it is important, we as teachers should be reporting on it, we should be designing assessments for it, until that day comes, people will always have ammunition against the practice of technology integration. If you want to fight back, just like we tell our students, you need evidence. Perhaps this is the great failing of the technology movement, so much time spent on tools and applications when there also needs to be some of that enormous amount of brain power, time, energy, and money dedicated to designing assessments that produce evidence of student learning vis a vis 21st Century Skills.