I posted this on my Tech Dossier site the other day to show how the new teacher’s took to some of the Web 2.0 technologies that they saw. I was really trying to build on the word of mouth popularity I was hearing from people in the building–the new teachers liked what they had seen and been able to do.
So, in analyzing this graph, I can see that the most easily adaptable technology was del.icio.us, the social bookmarking site. More people planned on using it, and they did not require additional professional development on it. Conversely, videoconferencing proved to be the least adaptable after the workshop, and the teachers voted that they needed more professional development before they were comfortable using it. That will shape a lot of what I do with the new teachers next year. It also shows me that there is interest in things like wikis and blogs, but the learning curve appears to be a little on the high side, and that is OK. That is why we have professional development classes and it’s also why when teachers add technologies like that, I work closely with them until they are comfortable.
We met with our technology committee today to discuss a few things to wrap up the year and plan for the summer maintenance on all of the machines in the district (we are switching over from an antiquated network to a brand-spanking new one). Also on the agenda for today was a discussion of the training needed for our teachers who are piloting our tablet PC rollout this coming fall. Now, I make it sound like it is a huge plan based solely on the fact that we want to start putting laptops in the hands of teachers, and at heart (well, my heart) it is, but in actuality it is being done because we are entering a three-year construction schedule for our high school. The teachers who are moving to a portable classroom are being issued a tablet PC and a wireless Epson projector in lieu of all of the machines they will lose in their rooms.
Always glass half-full, I look at this situation as a turning point for our district; if this group of 30 or so teachers can find success with these machines, rolling them out to the rest of the staff, and ideally the entire high school, will be that much easier due to the initial buy-in. But in recent weeks, we have been regaled with stories of poor planning and implementation programs causing egregious wasting of taxpayer dollars on technology that was doomed to fail. So, my selfish agenda at the tech committee meeting today was to get a feel for what the high school teachers on the committee saw in the way of training needed for those going to the tablets.
What I got was a great list of ideas, all based on the level of proficiency with the technology. Some of the teachers moving to the tablets are at a point where using a laptop in front of the students is not something they would feel comfortable with. Others will take the machine, plug in and just go like they have always had it. My idea is to do two things: for those that need extra training, start with basic uses and applications to give them success, aiming for an in-class usage percentage of about 50%. With the other group of teachers, I have loftier goals:
So you have been issued a new tablet PC and you are teaching in a modular classroom this year–what now? The machine you have at your fingertips has the ability to change the way you approach your classroom, much more so than a regular laptop. Sitting in front you is a traveling interactive whiteboard, a mobile production studio, and the biggest productivity streamliner you have ever encountered.
I want to show them ways to actually make that portable classroom more technologically advanced then the room they came from.
If you have any ideas in this regard, please feel free to pass them along.