Hello & WelcomeTwitter, todays meetGreat to be hereThis is about our school’s journey of making learning relevant and engaging for our students and how technology can play a role in process
Proud husband and father I’ve enjoyed my time in Toronto, but I couldn’t help but declare my allegiances to the Vancouver CanucksWhen I take to the time to be present and open to my children – they continue to provide the wisdom and insight I need as an educator and human beingI’ve been a professional educator for 18 years – from the moment I entered the profession we’ve been talking about the role of technology. Sometimes I catch myself getting a little frustrated….
If there nothing else, my main message is, when it comes to technology - we need to just try something…
I would like you to imagine the most engaged learning opportunity you’ve ever experienced….Where wonderment, discovery and inquiry abound. A place where “ah ha” moments are popping like popcornAre you there? Now ask yourself - what is the role technology in this learning “utopia”
I know the moment I mention technology - at least where I come from – I get a range of reactionsOne reaction is….I don’t know where to start? Laptop, tablet, windows, ios, million apps, HELP I’m drowning…..
Another reaction I get is “I want to put my foot through my computer”1 step forward 2 steps back…..it doesn’t work for meToo much time, not enough yield to my investement
And at the other end of the spectrum - you have individuals who can seemingly engage and embrace with technology , on the outside, at least, seamlesslyThe other day I walked into a Jr. English class and I heard the teacher ask a group of students – “link your prezi to your wiki” For some that makes perfect sense – for others it may as well be a foreign language from foreign land
So over the next few minutes I want to share with you, our school’s journey into embracing technology as a meaningful pedagogical tool for our students, teachers and parents.The journey has been full of bangs ups, detours and collisions. In some cases the journey has been slow and in other cases fast
A little bit about our school500 students, Catholic School, coed, enrolment into the school is based on religious reasons – not academic ability50% of our parents do not speak English as a first languageI'm very proud of how our students preform in all areas – 100%, 75% - we value the development of the whole child
In terms of our technology integration within the day to day teaching and learning – when I arrived at the school 8 years ago 30% of teachers, although issued an email account, didn’t know how to use it, didn’t see the need to use, ir didn’t know how to use it.In those 8 years the culture and practice of seeing technology as a relevant to tool for the day to day teaching and learning has really been transformed. Last spring the Ministry of Education for BC produced a video entitled “learning empowered by technology” - our school and few others were featuredLet’s take a look to give further context
So what’s worked and what hasn’t Let start with some of the “ugly”
We have come to learn that when we start with “what should we BUY” – we end up making bad decisions….
In particular when it comes to technology related purchases, we end with underused or mis used tech resrources1st generation smart board example
Similarly, the “what to BUY” question ultimately leads to the force feeding of teachers and studentsForce feeding leads to either a gag reflex or flat out rejection, defensiveness and defiance or passive resistence
The next couple of barriers we continue to need to overcome is a “narrowing of the vision” of what technology is and how it can be usedI know that some still see technology as a one directional tool, controlled by the teacher to “impart information”In practical terms, this is the teacher who sees technology use as mere PowerPoint slides - We have had to broaden our vision of what technology at school can be. In fact we need to embrace technology as a multi directional tool
Another narrowing of the vision of technology in education has come in the form of treating it like an “add on” to what we already do or have always done.Kind of like the annual fieldtrip during a unit of study. When we narrow the vision of education in these ways, set up meaningful technology integration up for epic failureAgain this narrowing of the vision of technology continues to be some thin
So what are some specific practices that have moved us forward in our adoption of technology as embedded tool for meaningful learning
Long before we talked about technology we talked about best practice when it comes to pedagogyWe are obsessed with one fundamental question at our school – How do we know students are learning and how do we respond when they are not learningAssessment, grading practices, literacy across the curriculum, reporting practices
We continue to have conversations of what it means to be a transformational teacher.I think about me teaching my daughters to ride a bike. I’m not sure this picture quite captures a positive transformative experience. But we have had conversations about trusting relationships, about teaching students before curriculum, we talked about the need to have high expectations and scaffold students support so that they can reach places they never thought they could get to
We have found that this questions takes us directly to the pedagogyTo place of learning and student engagement
This has been a key piece to our technology integration journey – related to building the capacity among the teachersWe felt that we need to make the case, and create the space for teachers to learn from each other, in a risk free, “play like” environment and with no “strings attached”
With that in mind we initiated our “Building Experts” Personalized Pro-D No professional goals, no smart goals, etc. We modelled this personalized professional learning on Google’s 20% timeLet’s listen to someone from google….
We gave 20% of our collaborative time and gave it to our teachers.The only caveat was, once or twice year we are going to bring everyone together for a “sharing our learning day”Implicit in this is – we trust you, learning and growth is vital, what do you want to learn?
Earlier I spoke about the failure of force feeding…What we have come see is that this has created a real appetite – particularly when it come to technology integration. Teachers want to explore its use – to find pedagogically sound uses for it – they need to time and support to get there
Other positive developments have included us moving to BYOD approach to technology - different topic for discussionOne interesting offshoot of this is this year - we have adopted a BYOD for teachers and have given teachers access to tech grant - whereby they can apply for $ towards the purchase of personal device that they would also use in their practice as a teacher. Application is simple – tell us how you are going to use this device for teaching a learning – “Blooms Taxonomy” as a reference pointThe rationale is the divide between personal and work devices is becoming blurred and if we teachers to use a device in a seamless way – they need to be comfortable with its use and application for teaching and learning.
We have also been really intention of modelling and demonstrating the powerful uses of today's technology and mediaGoogle Docs, Social Media, You Tube Channel , etc
Broadening the Vision and understanding the implicationsWill Richardson – why school Internet and the time of information abundance - With this abundance we are also seeing scarcity in terms of our ability to access the abundance Parable of the long spoons
Revisioning our school library and broadening the vision of what technology can be for teaching and learning
Let me dispel once and for all, that embracing technology or any innovation has nothing to do with age and has everything to do with a mindset.Starting with a “students first” mindset and a growth mindset
About 20 months ago in August I was awaken by a phone call - “ have you seen the front page of Vancouver SunIt’s been a couple of years and the journey has been exciting and frustrating. Over the past two weeks, in preparing for this presentation I paid attention to some the pedagogical approaches to using technologyUlitmatley this is about teaching and learning and how teachnology can be best used to maximize the the learning experience.I told you at the start that my children provide me with the greatest inspiration. 2 weeks ago my 8 yr old daughter wanted to teach her 3 yr. old sister how to draw a flower. She decided that she was going to use my ipad to teach her (with out my permission – different story) Today because of technology I can show you that. She used the “show me app”The video is 3 mintues and 30 seconds long. Enjoy. For me the lit happens in the last 3 seconds