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July 8, 2011 / JaymeJ

What if…

photo - Horia Varlan on Flickr

My school’s technology class “schedule” has not changed in the past decade. That is not to say that the school’s technology program has not changed. Our administration, along with our Board of Trustees, is amazingly supportive: embracing technology, providing funding for professional development, encouraging teachers to attend conferences, purchasing technology equipment to keep us “on the front of the wave,” allowing our curriculum to develop and change as needed. But the lab schedule, the way students have attended technology class, has remained the same. There are many reasons the schedule has not changed, but this summer a number of items are falling into place that will allow us more flexibility in our schedule: lower school will have laptops and iPads for small group work; upper school will be 1:1 this coming fall; a new lab that will accommodate an entire class – previously only 1/2 classes would fit into the lab; a full-time technology assistant, who is almost over-qualified for the job, but whose presence will allow amazing instructional changes, was hired.

So, in light of these new changes, I am dusting off this “What if…” that I brainstormed in March of 2010. This was written before any of the above changes were in place. But now that they are, I am hoping that many of these will become reality in the near future.

What if we removed the “lab” from the curriculum? What if technology came to students as a “special” and teachers visited the lab as a “classroom subject?” Would the “technology specialist’s” time be better spent integrating the curriculum? Would my time and expertise be better spent planning and teach teaching with teachers? There are so few projects in our current technology curriculum that are “stand alone.” Could these stand alone projects (robotics, turtle programming) be taught on a module basis? Could most of our existing technology projects be re-integrated back into the classroom (gold rush raps, animal blabberize projects, worlds fair graphs, research for reports, landforms movie, suitcase story) as they all directly relate to classroom curriculum? What could we do with technology with an additional 90 minutes a week in the classroom? Should another teacher be hired to teach the “stand alone” curriculum (basically the programming strand and keyboarding when not done in the classroom)? Though the skills are important, is integration more important? Would that model be valuable to our school? Where do we see our technology curriculum in 5 years?

What if…
I am excited about the possibilities.
The puzzle pieces are falling into place!

What are your What ifs?
What needs to be done to make them a reality?
What pieces of the puzzle are missing…and how can you complete the puzzle?

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. dwees / Jul 8 2011 9:12 pm

    We are using an integrated technology approach at my school, and it is working well. I think our students have less skill in a variety of technologies, but I hope they have more ability to use those technologies in other projects.

    • JaymeJ / Jul 8 2011 9:35 pm

      That has been my concern, that students will loose their broad range of skills. On the other hand, an integrated approach more closely mirrors the “real world.” We must prepare students to be resourceful, to seek out instruction (isn’t that what places like YouTube and Khan academy are for?), to problem solve. Integration, in my opinion, best meets those needs.

  2. sean williams / Jul 8 2011 10:14 pm

    Today was my second day working with some wonderful middle school teachers that want to incorporate more technology into their classes and this topic came up. The idea that students “go” anywhere to “do” technology takes away from the lesson – using technology becomes a nice addition to the learning that is happening in the classroom. It sounds like your school is getting away from the lab set up and putting tools in the hands of learners – bravo!

    • JaymeJ / Jul 10 2011 6:03 am

      We’re moving in that direction, slowly. Empowering teachers is the first step.

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