Tech Plan Part 1

It seems in the past month I have read about, have had e-mails from, or read twitter messages looking at creating or at least revisiting their school technology plans. I guess the 3 year plans are coming do, or schools are starting to understand that the technology plan written in the late 90’s or even early 2000’s will not work for what is needed in our schools today. With the uncontrollable use of social networks and media sites by both teachers and students schools are having to revisit their technology plans and rethink technologies role in their schools. I personally have been thinking a lot about this lately as, like others, our school is in this process. So I’ve decided to write a series of post focusing on the notion of a technology plan in the ear of the read/write web. Please note that this plan does not in anyway represent my school, but instead are my own thoughts on what a tech plan should and shouldn’t be and do. The Circle: Any school when developing any plan should starts with student learning in mind. So let’s start in the center and work these ideas out a little. Student Learning: In order to create a technology plan that supports student learning we must first understand how students learn in this new digital landscape. We can look at the new Bloom’s Taxonomy and George Siemen’s Connectivism Theory (Download Knowing Knowledge for real in depth thinking). I believe these two documents along with endless resource from the blogosphere and Ed Tech articles can help any technology plan in defining why changes need to be made focusing on student learning and what students need to know for the future. Karl Fisch’s Did You Know is always a great way to kick off a School Board or parent presentation. A good tech plan should include a pedagogical theory of how the plan, and in the end the tools are going to impact student learning. This is our goal as a school, to teach students for their future and a tech plan should include a pedagogical reasoning for how these tools and new teaching and learning methods will meet those needs. Without a solid pedagogical section of the plan I believe your plan can not and should not move forward. You need to understand how this plan affects student learning and teacher teaching. It...

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And we're off….

The first night of the Learning 2.0 conference has come to an end…and I’ve actually finished my presentation tomorrow…if you can call it a presentation. We’re really pushing for conversations during this conference. Twitter and Ning are allowing that to happen. It’s been interesting to watch as teachers start to understand how these two sites are being used and what you can do with them. I received great feedback from the panel on the use of Twitter, and the audience seemed to enjoy it too. By the time I got home there were 15 more people waiting to be added to the account for tomorrow. I explained to everyone about the unconference. For many this will be the first time they have ever had an opportunity to take part in an unconference. Someone twitted and called it an ‘unschedule’ session. That might be a better way to describe it. A session that is unscheduled until the participants tell us what to schedule. Some of the specialist I think are excited as one Art Teacher stood up and said “I’d love to talk about these tools with other art teachers…are there any here?” Others raised their hands and one other teacher stood us and yelled “Yes!”. That’s what were talking about. Making this conference meaningful for everyone! You design your conference, you get out of it what you put into it. I’m frustrated with Twittercamp at the moment. It works for awhile and then just stops updating….not sure what’s wrong. We ended up having two of our GeekSquad kids sit and manually refresh the twitter page…not as cool…but still did the job. That brings me to our GeekSquad: 50 students 6-12 grade who are volunteering to help out at this conference. The great part has been watching some of the 12th graders step up and take control and become leaders. 3 of them now know the username and password to our twitter and ning site…I trust them and they are doing a great job of keeping things up-to-date. It’s so great to see students helping teachers. We trained 15 students at 2:00 on how to connect to the wireless and sign up for ning and twitter. Those 15 trained the others as they came in. Some know mac, some know pc and they are learning from each other, creating their own learning and their own network. My favorite part is...

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A second look at zoho

A couple weeks ago I found a post by Tim Lauer where he described some web forms that he was creating using Zoho. It’s been a while since I played with Zoho and I have to say they’ve done some gerat improvements from the last time I was on the site. I played around the other night with Zoho Creator. I love the way you can customize a web form. I tried creating a web form for tech help where a teacher could fill out the form and when the ticket was active the teacher would receive an e-mail stating that the ticket was now active and the name of the technician that was working on the problem. Then when the ticket was closed by the technician it would again e-mail the teacher stating the ticket was not closed and what the outcome was. Now if only I could get it to translate from English to Chinese and back I’d be in business. 🙂 [tags]Zoho, Web 2.0[/tags] Technorati Tags:...

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It's not about Web 2.0 it's about learning!

Today I had the pleasure of doing a short presentation for our IB Theory of Knowledge class. I was invited in to give a lesson on how knowledge is changing in the 21st century. My first thought was “How do I tell students knowledge has changed, when they already know that?” I set up 3 Skype accounts for students to login to and keep notes on. I did not want to only talk about how knowledge is changing I wanted them to experience it. To feel the power of collective note taking, the power of multiple perspectives on a subject or theory. The 3 Skype accounts where for 17 students making them anonymous. I figured that if they were  anonymous that the students would fell free to write more about what they were thinking, willing to take a risk and stretch their thinking. In the end the laptops didn’t have Skype installed (it’s part of our image but these were Science laptops and didn’t have the new image on them). But I did at the same time podcast the conversation (to be posted later) telling students that in this new world of knowledge, not only do you acquire it, but you then publish it for others to use as an information nod as well. I used George Siemens Connectivism Theory as a starting point and we went from there. I put together a little Wiki page for the students so as they do their homework assignment tonight they have the links that we talked about today. So here I was in the middle of teaching students about how knowledge has changed. How it is the connections that the Internet allows us to make that is changing knowledge and information acquisition, and at the same time thinking about the conversation that has been sparked by a recent techlearning post of mine. If you’re out of the loop on the conversation here’s a recap: 1. Fear Factor2. Teachers & Technology – a rant!3. Why teachers Don’t Use Web 2.0 – an historical perspective4. Why teachers Use Web 2.05. Stager, Logo and Web 2.06. Web 2 is Like Logo? And now this post. There are a lot of great quotes that I could take from all of these posts and they have all made me think. First off….logo? Seriously…I know the program was popular but I never saw it in school. I...

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Fear Factor

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about fear and the fear some educators grown-ups have about technology. When did we stop exploring? When did it all of a sudden become dangerous to click on something on our computer that we really don’t know what might happen? Is it do to viruses? Or are we just afraid that the computer will blow up? At what age do we loose that sense of exploration, that adventure of that we might not know what will happen and because we can not predict the outcome we do not take the risk? Or maybe it has nothing to do with fear? Maybe it has to do with experience. We just don’t have the experience with this new technology to have the comfort level that allows us to explore. I mean how many of us got to grow up playing with computers like we did legos? This technology causes fear in us because we do not understand it. We did not, like this little one above, experience the computer as a way to explore. No, by the time we were introduced to the computer we were already at a stage were we were afraid that if we hit the wrong button, or click the wrong thing, that the computer might blow up. Of course we all heard the horror stories of of friends losing data, and viruses taking over machines, and that of course made us more cautious. Is this part of the reason our student’s are so much more advanced than we are as a generation? My job, and I believe the job of every educational technology person is to help people get over this fear. To encourage them to explore these amazing machines. This year at my school we’ve loaded some very cool programs onto every teacher computer, and created shortcuts on the desktop so they had easy access to programs such as Skype, Google Earth, Second Life, and Scratch just to name a few. Yet I wonder how many teachers haven’t even clicked on one of these shortcuts to see what happens. Most haven’t even deleted the shortcuts even though they never plan to use them, or don’t know what to do. I have two more trainings coming up this next week, and the first thing I am going to ask all my teachers to do is to click...

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