Saturday, February 1, 2014

In the Most Unexpected of Places

Two and a half years ago, we told the teachers that we'd be going 1:1.  At the time, I was a middle school teacher who did some technology training for staff throughout the year and served on the Technology Team in charge of helping to decipher the path we would take.

I will still remember the look on a few of the faces.  Shock.  Worry.  Fight-or-flight and the instinct to run for the hills. Some had concern about their content area and how they could possibly make a computer a functional part of reaching their standards.  One of those areas was in Family and Consumer Science.

You see, we have a remarkable teacher in FCS, but one who was admittedly a technophobe.  She teaches very hands-on, incredible lessons and always has.  She teaches the kind of classes that make me want to go back and take them all over again.  But--a transformation was taking place because of 1:1, and she felt lost.

This is where I came in.  As a technology integrationist, I must take the worry, stress, and some of the searching/planning out of teachers' hands to make the integration successful.  It's what I do.  It's what I love.  Lynette and I met for a several hours over the course of those first few months to get her acclimated with her new device.  She quickly started to see the possibilities for technology integration in her classes.

Jump forward two years.  Lynette is a tech integration goddess!  What she is doing with her Life Skills and Child Development classes is nothing short of incredible.  Now, when she shows a movie as part of her plan, there is a TodaysMeet backchannel conversation going on simultaneously.  She's posting higher order thinking questions in real-time.  These transcripts can be viewed again or printed for grading purposes.

In Life Skills, kids used to do a giant, cumbersome 3-ring binder of pages and pages of information they worked diligently on in class.  Now, this binder has gone fully digital.  Kids are able to upload any work through Google Docs and Moodle (our online course platform for the district), add any web page and their own projects.  What used to be a very large pain in the keester is now a digital portfolio that will stay with the student beyond graduation.

Lynette, currently, has kids doing a collage of their life and where they see themselves in the future.  Through her new curriculum by Take Charge Today, she was provided a rubric for which to grade work.  The pre 1:1 teacher may have done a paper collage (which still has its place sometimes, don't get me wrong), but now these students are using Mural.ly, which offers a way to connect to Evernote and Google Docs (both mandatory accounts our students have), while also being able to add websites, images, and a host of personalization options.


 This takes a project from very topical in mental depth to something that truly digs into the higher order thinking skills needed for today's learner.  They have to search, examine, analyze, synthesize, and create a masterpiece, of sorts, that best sums up where they want to be.  Having the internet at their fingertips changes the game.  Big time.

I could go on and one with what she's doing.  It's remarkable! She's using her iPhone to scan documents.  She's tweeting. She's texting me when she needs help.  She's troubleshooting and succeeding!  The lesson here?  Even the most afraid, even the people with the least experience with technology can ROCK integration.  With guidance, a support system of people willing to help, and time, technology integration can be incredible...even in the most unexpected of places.

follow Lynette on Twitter @ldoliesl 


Lynette with a Life Skills class beginning their collage project on Mural.ly







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