Digital Learning Inventory: Sharon High School
*2012 iMacs (one-three) in every classroom and one computer lab; older Macs in two other labs; newer iMacs in Foreign Language lab
*25 Promethean boards in key locations throughout building
*30 new Cat6 drops
*New wifi network featuring Aerohive APs
*New file management system
*Microsoft Office, First Class, Google Apps, subscriptions to research databases both through state library network and through Library Media Dept., SolidWorks in Science Dept.
*IWBs used by 75% of teachers. 40% of that use is interactive and/or pedagogically new
*Laptop cart in library to expand computer use (Mac Airs)
*Laptop carts in each department
*I-pads in library for science literacy project (3) plus additional cart of 25
*Research database instruction and student use across grade levels and curriculum areas
*Video production class and program; 2D-3D design course; programming course; technology club
*Virtual High School courses offered (25 seats per semester)
*Blended learning incorporated into an increasing number of courses
*60% of teachers use web sites to communicate through “Edline”
*PowerSchool used for data management; grading
*Aesop used as absence/substitute recording system
*Pearson Inform recently purchased as district-wide assessment database and analysis tool
*MediaCAST messaging/media system implemented; TVs used as additional means of communication in addition to daily broadcast of student produced “Eagle News” announcements
*Regular collaboration between library/media teacher and classroom teachers to integrate new technology and presentation tools such as “Prezi,” “Glogster,” “Animoto,” “VoiceThread,” etc.
*Videoconferencing several times per year through “Global Nomads” program between Social Studies classes and a high school in Jordan
*Streaming video through Discovery Channel incorporated across grade levels and subject areas
*Wikis, podcasts and Skype incorporated on a regular basis by individual teachers and in collaboration with Library/Media Teacher
*Tech PD offered to staff in workshop format and one on one sessions through Tech Dept. and Library/Media Dept at the high school and district level. Use of social networking in the classroom has been offered although district wide social media policy is currently somewhat restrictive.
Use of School and Teacher Websites:
2. How does your school make use of school and/or teacher websites?
The district website has links for parents, students, district calendars, news, staff and parent portals for online grade books, etc. Edline hosts our district, individual and teacher web pages. Each teacher has a homepage, hosted on the school pages. The SHS site is used to keep stakeholders informed of ongoing and upcoming events, to provide immediate access for students, parents, and the community to contact faculty and staff via email, and to provide “Eagle News” announcements, learning resources and news updates through the “Virtual Library” website which is linked to the SHS webpage.
3. How do you currently utilize technology for learning? As a library/media teacher and technology integrationist, I work collaboratively with classroom teachers to integrate technology into the classroom. I communicate and plan with teachers to determine the best tools to a particular project, with student learning outcomes in mind. I might teach one class the use of “Prezi” to showcase artist research projects, and another the use of “Animoto” to create movie trailers as a modernized form of traditional book reports. I also incorporate technology as a member of the school’s “Global Competence Committee,” in which students create multi-media projects to present their global service and research findings and reflections. In addition, my website includes a wide range of resources, from collaborative wikis which serve as electronic pathfinders for students, to “tech how-to’s” for teachers, to research databases, college and career websites, online galleries of student work, and more.
4. From the list of global e-learning sites included below, which are available and which sites are blocked by your firewall? Facebook is currently blocked as our district’s social media policy is currently restrictive on the use of social networking sites, though work-arounds such as fake Facebook page makers exist and are utilized by some teachers.
The following sites are excellent for online collaboration around global issues. I will be purchasing a district wide “iEarn” account this year to further develop teacher collaboration with partner schools around the world.
iEARN www. iearn.org
Peace Corps Speakers Match http://wws.peacecorps.gov/wws/speakersmatch/
Global Nomads Group www.gng.org
Primary Source www.primarysource.org
Outreach World http://www.outreachworld.org
The UN Works http://www.un.org/works/
Global Education Conference http://www.globaleducationconference.com
Online Newspapers http://www.onlinenewspapers.com
5. What sites and tools are colleagues in your building using? Answered in the “Practices” section above. To expand, teachers use a variety of the tools mentioned, particularly “The UN Works,” (we have a Model UN Club at SHS); “Edutopia,” “Global Nomads Group” (Social Studies Dept.) and Online Newspapers (SS; ELA). In addition, our district is a partner with Primary Source, through which we receive a discount on PD. Their “Teaching for Global Understanding” course is offered on site throughout the year to teachers.
6. Is there a system for evaluating student technology literacy in your school? If so, how effective or helpful have you found the assessment? We refer to NETS, and incorporate technology literacy into assignment rubrics on a regular basis. I plan to work with the ELA Coordinator and Technology Director this year to compile a digital literacy curriculum that will include assessment in this important area. There is also some overlap with Common Core standards in which technology literacy is interwoven.
A formal way to evaluate technology literacy would be helpful. We are currently developing school-wide rubrics at SHS, and this might be an important one to add.
7. Gather suggestions from students on their ideas for integrating technology into learning. Students were surveyed last year in a technology survey at the district level and by the Library Task Force at SHS. Some ideas included the formation of a “Genius Bar,” in which tech savvy students could assist students in trouble shooting computer issues, in creation of multi-media presentations, etc. “Peercasting” as a way to expand the peer tutoring program, is another idea in which students knowledgeable about certain concepts would share that knowledge through podcasts or videos that could then be shared by teachers with students requiring assistance with those concepts. A technology club at the high school is in the works. Student leaders will offer suggestions in that format as well, and will solicit ideas from the larger student body.
8. What tools are not currently available that would help to achieve district objectives? Our library needs to be converted to a more modern “Learning Commons” with updated computers, small group work stations that lend themselves to collaborative computer work, an I-pad cart, videoconferencing configurations, etc. Funding toward 1:1 and BYOD objectives would also be significant in furthering global competence and technology literacy objectives. In terms of human resources, technology and library departments should be meeting on a regular basis since they share many of the same goals. Screencasting, video conferencing and related communications software would also be helpful in attainment of Tech PD goals for both staff and students, along with a time commitment on the part of the Tech and Library Depts (as well as other identified Teacher Leaders in technology) toward the creation of an online PD library that would be accessible beyond the limitations of the school day.
Adding Technology One Small Step at a Time: Implementation of One Change in a Globalized Lesson Plan
“Mexico’s Endangered Journalists,” is a research opportunity that allows students to focus on one country’s current human rights/press freedom issues. The questions require students to research the facts and to use higher level thinking skills to draw conclusions based on those facts.
Intro: “You don’t have to go to the other side of the globe to find attempts at silencing journalists. According to the Associated Press, 84 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, and 20 have disappeared since 2005.
Mexico ranks seventh on the impunity index compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (the index measures the impunity with which murderers get away with killing journalists).”
Activity: Students find at least three articles (like this one) about the killings and disappearances of journalists in Mexico. Use the research to answer the following questions:
1) Does the increase in violence against journalists coincide with another trend in the country?
2) Has the government of Mexico acknowledged the problem and implemented any programs to address it?
3) Are crimes against journalists investigated in Mexico? How many of these crimes go unpunished?
To incorporate technology, I changed the lesson to have students use the website, “Storify” to post their articles and to comment on each article, summarizing their findings in the “description” section under the headline. I then had students meet in pairs to share, followed by a debriefing of their findings in an informal discussion.
I was already familiar with Storify’s potential as a learning tool, and first started using it to follow news stories about our losing football teams dramatic win of the high school “Super Bowl” last year. I posted my “Storify” collection of stories on my virtual library web site as a way to attract more student readers.
By changing this particular lesson just slightly to include technology, I learned that student engagement genuinely increases when they are curious about a new tool. Whereas normally research can be like pulling teeth with some students, the majority of students were intrigued to try this new tool. Since it is mainly a curation tool, they still needed to do the research work, but the opportunity to publish their research findings and comments online added an element of fun for them. I think it also helped them take ownership of the research process in a way they would not have without the addition of the technology.
My Top Five Favorite Digital Learning Tools:
I will always believe that technology is simply a means to an end. If it enhances collaboration, creativity, student engagement and the overall learning process, then bring it on! My top five favorite tools:
*iEarn Collaboration Center: Two teachers at SHS partnered with me last spring to pilot use of the iEarn Collaboration Center on the topic of food and hunger. The Collaboration Center is a fantastic way to partner with teachers around the world on specific curriculum units. We shared photographs, research findings and general observations about our favorite dishes along with studying photojournalism techniques. The possibilities are endless and projects are offered across all disciplines.
*Skype: I can't say enough about Skype as a means of enhancing global communication. When I lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, I was able
to easily set up a "Skype the Author" session with a California children's author. Students asked questions, and the author provided a demo on how to illustrate a children's story. I interviewed for my current position using Skype, after a snowstorm forced me to turn around
and head back south.
*Animoto: I partnered with a creative writing teacher to use Animoto to teach students how to convey messages with words, pictures and sounds to hook readers into their short stories. Its ease of use makes it a wonderful communication and presentation tool for any subject area.
*Social Media: To fully engage students in the research process, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc are the way to go! I partnered with our SS Dept. last year to co-teach a biography unit on prophetic function/social change. Students went beyond traditional research sources to explore the Twitter and Facebook pages of their assigned contemporary social change agent. They then created "media
mashups." What would Gandhi say on his Twitter page? Again, the use of social media spans subject areas.
*IPads: Aside from the thousands of educational Apps available, for a global perspective the virtual tours available are a great way to
expose students to other cultures from the classroom. iPads offer students an exciting way to experience field trip destinations, incorporating interactive maps and exhibit-specific content.