How Technology is Transforming the Classroom at North Shore

On Thursday morning, Tom Doar, our Head of School, wandered into the library where I was getting ready to help work with our fifth graders on their iMovie project which I wrote about last week. He told me:

On Tuesday evening, at a meeting of the strategic plan committee chairs, Pam Whalley, our Lower School Head stated that the accessibility to technology has changed the way that teaching and learning are done in the classroom, especially in the last three years. Teachers need more time to research and develop curriculum to take advantage of these new tools. Since I have to make a presentation to our visiting grandparents tomorrow, could you provide a few bullet points to me to highlight some of these changes.

While trying to figure out which projects to highlight, it became apparent to me that it was not enough to simply hear about the different projects, but it was essential for the grandparents to be able to see and hear the impact of these changes. Later that morning, I swung by Tom's office to tell him that I would put together a presentation for him to use. This did require rearranging the seating configuration that was planned and also required testing the equipment to make sure it would be able to be viewed and heard well enough by the 170+ grandparents that would be attending.

Having just completed the book, Made to Stick, it was important to craft the proper message which would be able to be understood and memorable. So I decided on focusing on the following simple, five statement message,

That Technology has changed the way teaching and learning happens at the North Shore Country Day School by:

  1. Allowing teachers and students to communicate and exchange information with others around the world. (Examples used are an 8th Grade Cultural Exchange that we have begun and a faculty meeting on global collaboration presented by Jennifer Lindsay in Bangladesh)
  2. Allowing teachers and students to see the world in new ways. (Example used was the American Holocaust Museum's GoogleEarth Darfur project, which is being used by our eighth grade Service Learning Project, our ninth grade Regional Geography and History course and our twelfth grade Holocaust elective)
  3. Allowing teachers and students to reconstruct history. (Showed our fifth grade's Mayan village recreation using Google Sketchup)
  4. Allowing teachers and students to share new stories. (Played an excerpt of our third grade's Podcasting project to research and tell the stories behind the named spaces around campus)
  5. Allowing students to change the world. (Told about our eleventh grade's service learning project as inspired by reading Gr...)

Tom delivered the presentation flawlessly and while I have not heard any feedback, I believe that we showed the grandparents that while staying true to our core values as a school we are allowing our students to do richer, more authentic opportunities for learning.

I am sharing the PowerPoint presentation which we used via SlideShare.net. By downloading the show, you will be able to watch the movies (created by using our SMART software recorder) and listen to the sound clips which were shared.

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