One of the roles of my new position is to observe teachers as they use technology in their classrooms and try to come up with ways to incorporate the techniques and technologies that they are using into other classes. Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a Math class that was using the TI-Navigator calculators by Texas Instruments. While students can use these devices as a calculator, there is also a polling system software that is included allowing students to send the teacher the answers to whatever question is posed to them. In this particular class students were working with order of operations. The teacher had two projectors set up in his room. One was hooked up to a Smartboard and the other was projected on a screen. Problems were posed on the Smartboard and students were to solve the problem and submit their answers. It created a non-threatening environment for students to answer questions and at the same time, gives feedback to the instructor as to the level of understanding of the class.
All students were engaged and actively working on each of the problems that were presented. I participated as well, and as my math skills may not be stellar, the technology was fun to work with. I’m interested in exploring some other applications of this system. Maybe a foreign language class working with vocabulary… While the benefits for math class are clear, I think that there are some other applications for this as well. The Texas Instruments site has lots of applications for this in a variety of subjects as a part of their activities exchange section so I’m sure that there some great ideas there.
So I broke down and bought myself a new phone. I’ve been considering a smartphone for some time now and thought that since I’m starting a new job, now might be a good time to look into something of this nature. After a lot of consideration and searching the web exhaustively, I’ve decided on the Sprint Mogul by HTC. It was either that or the Treo 755p and finally the huge screen won me over. Now I’m the proud owner of a smartphone running Windows Mobile 6 with little idea of how to really go about using it.
The biggest reason I began to consider a smartphone is the crazy schedule that I’m about to undertake. I have about 200 k-12 teachers spread over three buildings to support in their use of technology. Beyond that, my kids activities take up their own calendar and I want to be able to sync all of those things into my new phone. Here’s the problem… my school calender is kept on Novell’s Groupwise and needs to be accessible by a couple of people. I don’t necessarily want to put my entire family calendar on my school server. Luckily, Novell has thought of this and created an app called pdaconnect that allows me to pull my calendar from Groupwise, but not push my personal appointments to it. Yippee!!! Now I can sync my school calendar without inserting all of my personal contacts and information.
However, my next step involved wanting to share a calendar with my wife so that we could both update a common calendar and I could still sync that to my phone. Enter Goosync… an online app that allows me to sync my phone to a Google Calendar that I can sync. Problem solved.
Now if I could only get it to sync via Bluetooth, I’d be all set.
It’s currently 4:30 AM and I’m awake… At 3 my daughter woke up and wanted to come into Mommy and Daddy’s bed. While this is a wonderful thing, restful it is not. During the kicking and wiggling that comes with sharing a bed with a three year old, I began to revisit my thoughts on the upcoming school year. Yesterday was the first team meeting for my new position so I finally met everyone that I will be working with in the upcoming year. I’ve gotta say, it’s a fairly impressive bunch. We each bring something different to the table and should compliment each other well. One of the things that we did as a group was to discuss our goals for the upcoming year. Mine were as follows:
- Assimilate into Parkway
- Guide students to be creators of knowledge rather than consumers
- Blog more
- Bring Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom
- Present at conferences
- Explore the possibilities
- Be open to anything a teacher wants to try
This is a new position in the Parkway School District and we really have a great deal of freedom to take our tech integration as far as we choose. It’s an exciting prospect, which is why I’m up at 4:30. Hopefully this early morning sleeplessness doesn’t become a habit, but if it does, maybe my third goal will become a reality.
Throughout my 12 years in education I have often struggled with the role that I have in the classroom. Through trainings and other such professional development I became a “reflective practitioner” always looking at my practices and trying to become more effective in my class. All twelve of my years in education have been as a classroom English teacher at the secondary level. Now things have changed… starting on August 8th I will assume the position of Technology Integration Specialist in the Parkway School District in Saint Louis, MO. Parkway is a district that has decided that technology is of the utmost importance in the success of their students. Therefore I will be working with a variety of teachers, K-12, to assist them in the use of technology in their classrooms. It’s a very exciting prospect that I welcome with open arms. There will be many changes that come from this position but I’m looking forward to it and welcome the successes and challenges that come with changing districts as well as the beginnings of a new position. One thing that I HOPE to do is blog more. While it certainly won’t be easier to find the time, it is my desire to spend more time reflecting and sharing ideas than I did before.
Farewell Hazelwood, I wish you and your students well.