1. In what ways has technology improved the effectiveness of your classroom, school or district?

Note: This is the first of four questions being posted. For those in the U.S., Secretary Spellings has asked for ideas on the integration of technology in education. There is a form on the ed.gov site, but no ability to dialog or even leave your contact information if you fill it out. Therefore, I have created a forum thread for each of Secretary Spellings' questions, and propose that we discuss them here and invite her office to view the dialog on this website and even participate. This is a terrific opportunity to not only respond but to also show the benefit of Web 2.0 technology in addressing this kind of issue.

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Collaboration has improved the way our school and district functions, through the use of email, wikis, shared maintenance of websites, podcasting, etc.
Multimedia has improved our teaching effectiveness. Creating multimedia projects has brought our school together, and has produced significantly higher student engagement and learning.
Motivation for students and teachers has improved, too.

There is a long, long way to go, though. Purchasing hardware and software is done, but precious little financial follow-through for training and troubleshooting/tech support.
The impact on achievement has limitless potential. After I create a lesson ,I can post it on my Wiki Page. I usually post some time of Audio or video from YouTube, or Photostory, or even a Powerpoint that goes over some of the basic concepts. In this way I can add a video or slide show to capture students attention. On my Wiki Page I include the assignment, websites where inforamtion can be gathered, upload storyboards, and add the necessary graphic prganizer... all on the site. Students access this information with me in class but can also access the same information from their home computers. No more lost assignment-and a great way to keep parents informed as to what we are doing.

The other aspect that technology has added, is the ability for the students to work collaboratively-not just during classtime but at home as well. Adding a Yak Pack or setting up a virtual classroom allow the students to use on-line resources to work together on group projects. Students are also thrilled when I can post their projects back to the Wiki. Students enjoy picking a fake on-line name (for privacy) and really like seeing their efforts posted. The fact that the work is posted and Mom and Dad and other classmates can see it ,makes them take the editting process.

Assessments can now be broadened. Instead of just looking a quizzes and tests, students can create slide shows, travel logs, use an interactive whiteboard when they present their work, Using google Earth and other CAD tools students can use tools similar to those used in business.

With the advent of so much open source software districts need money to invest in the hard ware, and teacher training. Maybe if we redirect some of the funds spent on all the state Paper booklet test like MEAP- we could use those dollars for technology where we could test without paper and get immediate feedback. We just have to be willing to make the switch
We had 5 Promeathean Whiteboards installed in our school for teachers who won a school division grant. Student engagement in those classrooms has increased. There are fewer behavior issues in those classrooms than in others (interesting given that some of those students have classes taught by four different teachers). The students are doing the work at the boards and learning, the teachers are no longer struggling to get content across.

As a teacher coach, I try to include children as much as possible when I model a lesson for teachers. I'll bring in my wireless mouse and keyboard and allow the students to interact with whatever website that I am demonstrating using a simple data projector. Here again, student engagement is increased and behavior issues dissapate.

Anyone who doesn't see the benefit from use of technology in just behavior and engagement isn't using the technology appropriately. There are other uses too, but I'll leave that to the other folks to explain.




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