The beauty of this is that students are generally not afraid to break anything! They jump into the latest technologies, whether we are talking about devices or programs, and are not afraid to experiment, change formatting and functionality to put their own stamp on it. A concern is when schools begin programs without tracking successes and failures to determine whether the “best new thing” is actually working to increase student learning or engagement.
When we think about using current and emerging technologies with students, it might not hurt to have a collaborative game plan in terms of evaluation and future goal creation.
Change is challenging for some of us. It is always easier to stay inside your own comfort zone rather than to step outside into situations that might cause discomfort, unease, or frustration before benefits might be realized.
The way we as teachers have historically provided teaching does provide us with ways to ascertain baseline performance. Most teachers have a toolbox of what they know works for different situations. Experience can be useful, and it can be comfortable.
If you do things the way you’ve always done them, you are missing out on a whole revolution that is taking place with our young people. They are entwined with their devices and use them to function daily. From my preliminary research results at my own dissertation study site, I am hearing that students use their smart phones to find out any manner of personal information because the phones are always with them, are fast, and bypass the filters that schools place on educational networks. They want their information instantly, at their fingertips, and without boundaries. They are somewhat insulted by having to manipulate filters when they do use school computers for searching, and will often use their smart phone simultaneously so they can get where they want to go.
I agree with the Many to Many model and find it fascinating that it seems to coexist alongside the individualized learning model where students create and manipulate their learning experiences so that they are tailormade for their own needs. It used to be important to have a bachelor’s degree in something in order to land a job. Now, companies are looking for project-driven collaborative work experiences that show the job applicant to be a versatile, flexible team player. Of course, presenting yourself orally, in written format, and digitally are still important. But just having the letters “B.S.” or “B.A.” is no longer good enough for job security.
Just over 20 years old. Originally built to house 1,500 students. Now serves 2,200 students after undergoing new construction additions. School is now ¼ mile long. It is the largest school in KS. When the school opened there was a 3 percent free/reduced lunch rate. Now that number has risen to 25 percent. The students population has changed and the school teaching staff has strived to change as well. We brought 9th grade up to the high school level this past year, and most classrooms average 30 students per room. Behavior referrals are up, as are incidences with drug and alcohol abuse problems. However, this school applied for Model School status with the Successful Practices Network and was awarded one of 20 model schools in the nation in 2010. Our teachers regularly submit successful lessons to the network for teacher peer sharing. Every year we have a handful of students (7 one year!) who earn a perfect score on the ACT. Our average ACT score is 24. Our science teachers have been recognized nationally. Our math department chair writes the problems that are solved on the television show “Numb3rs.” We are doing a lot of things right. We need to keep trying to make what is right even better.
Every student at Olathe East checked out a Palm handheld device, a keyboard, and cables necessary for uploading files to a PC. Teachers chose to use the Palms in different ways. The district hired a Palm support specialist to provide ongoing training. The two groups who embraced using Palms the most were the math and language arts teachers. The Palms proved to be somewhat problematic – they were not always reliable, cables were broken or damaged, and some students did not like using the peripheral keyboard. Other kids immediately downloaded the game “Drug Wars” and this frustrated teachers who felt that the Palms should only be used for academic purposes. Students lost their stylus or cables. Some of them were not able to pay to replace Palms that they damaged. The Palm initiative slowly lost steam over a period of five years. Last year, all Palms were collected and the district no longer supports this program. The Palm support tech lost her job, and I believe the Palms were sold to another school district in another state. It seemed like such a novel, great idea, but I don’t think the whole Palm initiative was carefully thought out before implementation. If only we had stepped back to do a little more research, we might have really thought hard about the one-to-one laptop scenario and invested district money in another direction…
The library is sometimes used as an alternative PC lab (we have 36 computers for students). I manage 90 laptops and they are checked out nearly every day. The computer labs no longer have enough PCs in them to support our larger classes. Laptops have their own issues…they lock up, cannot always access the network (necessary for going online) and experience various hardware and software issues because of frequent use. I’m not sure if the one-to-one laptop initiative is the answer for OE, because probably 85 percent of students have their own PCs at home (often several PCs/laptops). But for students who do not having any computing devices at home, Chen’s chapter about providing laptops and connectivity really struck home. It gave me goosebumps. In a community where we have so much affluence, it is hard to believe that parent groups and corporations (we are home to Sprint headquarters) have not stepped up to the plate to help provide or pay for devices that help all students to be connected so that they can coexist on a level playing field with their peers at school.
The budget news is not improving. I lost a half-time LMS position three years ago because of cuts. We have not had a pay increase in two years, and this year we will not receive one. We are hearing in my district that this year will be worse than last year. Add to that mix more students, higher expectations for learning, and uncertainty about future job positions and you have a potent mix for anxiety!
I have certain sections in my collection devoted to one author, or to a genre of poetry and these books don’t get used. Teachers tell me that they used to do wonderful units with those materials, but that they must now teach the required material that will appear on district and state assessments. What do assessments do for our students? What do they teach them about learning? Are we giving them a “pump and dump” mentality instead of a zest for learning and discovery? How do we impart an excitement about learning and growth within the requirements of NCLB?
Teachers chose different levels of collaboration with the school librarian. Some teachers truly enjoy teaching in a closed classroom environment. Others will allow me to come to their room to provide instruction for a set amount of time. Some teachers prefer to only use the library as an alternate computer lab. And finally, my favorite example is about teachers who work closely with me to help develop and build learning experiences that explore real-world problems and also involve online resources, authentic assessment and evaluation. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could perform this type of collaborative experience with every single teacher in my school – there are simply too many for one professional librarian. However, I can focus my efforts on the ones who do choose to collaborate, and when new teachers come to our school (not frequently in recent years because of budget cuts) I make sure our doors are open and welcoming. I also run a coffee bistro and encourage teachers to discover how me might help them through simple social interactions that occur around the coffee ritual!
Research shows that collaboration and guided inquiry are key components for successfully teaching students 21st century technology skills. Students need to be exploring real-world problems or scenarios. Our history teachers do not require students to do a biographical report about a president. Instead, students are asked to develop a thesis about whether the president being studied was successful or not (politically, with foreign policy, for popularity, world view, etc.) and to develop supporting arguments using primary source and secondary source data that help to explain the student’s position. In other words, there is no one right answer. Rather, the student’s opinion is interwoven into his or her writing after research has been performed and guided inquiry exercises have been successfully completed. This can look like something as simple as using a graphic organizer to help develop fact-supported opinions, or it can become much more elaborate, taking several class visits for teacher/librarian co-instruction, co-support, co-assessment, and co-evaluation.
This past year we were finally given teacher-only access to YouTube. This has caused a tremendous change in how teachers choose to present material. I try to always include a YouTube video in my LibGuides. Only, because they are not provided for student access, I have to have students watch the videos when they are not at school. Progress? Partly.
Teachers may perceive that using Web 2.0 tools to help unleash creativity is too challenging. Using tools like this requires
There are the tools at my disposal in order to meet students on THEIR playing fields. I use them daily!
We have hundreds of eBooks representing all subjects. I also encourage families to use our eBooks.
The technology edge
The Technology Edge: We venture into uncharted waters with enthusiasm and a zest for exploration<br />Lori Franklin, LMS/NBCTOlathe East High SchoolOlathe, KS<br />
Uncharted<br />We know what is available to us in terms of hardware, software and experiences.<br />What we do not know is where we could actually end up on our journey…<br />
The questions…<br />Who’s job is it to determine the journey’s end point and success level?<br />The teacher?<br />The student?<br />The team?<br />
The Box<br />Educators and those who rule education like to say they are thinking outside of the box.<br />Most of the time, they are in the box.<br />http://www.socialtikmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/man-in-box1.jpg<br />
What’s good about The Box?<br />Knowns<br />Tangibles<br />Baselines<br />
What’s not so good about The Box?<br />Missed opportunities<br />Growth<br />24/7 educational experiences<br />21st century student-centered learning<br />Affects desire for lifelong learning<br />http://www.newyorkparkingticket.com/Portals/41340/images//NYPT---Stuck%20inside%20a%20box.jpg<br />
Did you know?<br />In many schools, we still ask students to sit for several hours a day at desks, listening (or not) to a teacher as he or she lectures?<br />http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/replicate/EXID59607/images/examiner_pic_5.jpg<br />
Participatory Learning<br />Chen’s Many to Many model<br />Leaves the “Sage on the Stage” model<br />Requires group collaboration<br />Needs new assessment tools<br />Should be frequently evolving to meet needs<br />
One-to-one Palm initiative<br />1,500 students check out Palm handheld devices for the school year<br />Usage varies from word processing to using temperature probes attached to the Palms.<br />http://www.palminfocenter.com/images/img_PalmInClass.jpg<br />
The current scenario<br />500 PCs<br />250 laptops stored in mobile carts<br />Minimum of one PC in every classroom; some rooms have more; labs typically have 25 PCs<br />Average class size is approaching 30<br />
Example: the “Country Report”<br />Put the focus on building a knowledge base<br />No PowerPoint allowed!<br />Student collaboration and peer review<br />Made the student the expert<br />Constructive comments expected<br />This project provided frustration, exhilaration, and student learning beyond rote memorization of facts<br />
Thinking outside The Box:<br />College Prep English IV – blogging about the novel Frankensteinwith a partner school; wiki creation, meeting in person to share results; effects<br />Algebra III, pre-Calculus – all classes podcasted; use of cell phones as “clickers”<br />Edmodo<br />
Some don’t…<br />Using assignments from 5 years ago<br />Isolated teaching<br />Not reaching out with online resources (eBooks, databases, Skype with experts, Edmodo, wikis, pod/vodcasting, Moodle)<br />
Special learners lose out<br />Boys better served by breaking up instruction with physical activity each hour<br />ELL learners left behind<br />SPED students receive modifications but not necessarily modified teaching, which should include a continual assessment/modification cycle to determine if learning is occurring.<br />
2 Reports<br />Horizon Report: K-12 Edition - The New Media Consortium - Updated annually - Identifies trends, challenges, what’s next<br />Speak Up Study - Project Tomorrow initiative - Nearly 2 million informants (students, teachers, administrators, parents)<br />
Horizon Report Findings: #1<br />Technology is: - means for empowering students - method for communication & socializing - ubiquitous transparent part of student lives<br />
Horizon Report Findings: #2<br />Technology has a profound affect on the way we work, collaborate, communicate and succeed.<br />
Horizon Report Findings: #3<br />Increasing interest in just-in-time, alternative, or non-formal avenues of education: - online learning - mentoring - independent study<br />http://www.northcantonschools.org/nccs/images/stories/news/2010/02/distance-learning-gt-texas.jpg<br />
Horizon Report Findings: #4<br />The way we think of learning environments is changing<br />
Challenges<br />The Horizon Report outlines several challenges. Especially telling is this statement:<br />“Students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly.”<br />
Thinking outside The Box<br />The Horizon Report describes how today’s learning and education must happen outside of physical walls and time/distance constraints.<br />Students expect to seek out expert opinions other than the teacher who is in the room with them!<br />
Speak Up<br />Students identified as “Free Agent Learners”<br />School building, teacher, and textbook no longer have a monopoly on knowledge, content or the educational process.<br />Students seek personalized learning.<br />http://www.iusb.edu/~cted/Images/Fotolia_Distance-Learning.gif<br />
More Speak Up <br />Students want: - Social-based learning - Untethered learning - Digitally rich learning<br />http://mswilliamsyear9history.edublogs.org/files/2011/03/immersive-internet-1n0d0pb.png<br />
eBooks<br />Available 24/7 for varied amounts of check out time (2-3 weeks for some eBooks)<br />Personal assistant example<br />Flexibility for assignments (requirement for print and electronic sources)<br />
E-mail<br />You can help students outside of school hours<br />Gmail student accounts<br />Google Docs and other Google tools<br />File transfer from home<br />My students know I will frequently check my work e-mail and return their queries quickly!<br />http://seo.ds6.net/images/SEO-1-20110210-6.jpg<br />
Web Presence<br />Up to date information available immediately<br />Links to other items just discussed - integration<br />Library Thing<br />Podcasts<br />
Questions in my head<br />What do we need to learn about students in order to best meet their needs?<br />How can we tap into students’ love of their cell phones in order to help them learn more?<br />Can we mesh cell phone use with classroom instruction?<br />How can I make my own library program into a better fit with student learning processes?<br />
One more question:<br />Maybe “Education Nation” needs one more edge…one that interweaves what we know about how school librarians impact student achievement.<br />If not an edge, can the school librarian and all that he or she influences become a guiding force that touches and influences all of the edges?<br />