Sunday, May 27, 2012

Indentifying our gaps, planning for the future

The end of another school year is just around the corner. In looking back at the year, I wonder whether we were successful in providing the technology support, encouragement and knowledge necessary for our faculty and students to be successful in this ever-changing landscape of the digital age. We have provided a well-rounded curriculum in our core subjects, we have enriched students experiences by providing a variety of elective courses and co-curricular activities.  I wonder though, will our students who are graduating in a few weeks be knowledgable in the "21st Century" skills that will ensure greater success beyond high school? Did they gain skills in the "4 Cs"-- Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking? And, where did technology play a part, if at all?

At the beginning of the year our teachers brainstormed about our use of technology. The question was asked, "Can you identify any gaps we may have in developing the technology skills of our faculty and/or our students?"

As I read through their answers (posted below*), I see many mentions of time ... lack of, we need more of... etc. and the need for support, whether it's one-to-one, co-teaching, or just providing the permission to try new things, yet, not be held accountable if things don't work out.

How can school districts provide the time necessary to develop skills in technology? For our faculty, we have offered professional development in the form of "lunch and learns," which can raise awareness of a variety of teaching strategies, but not provide the time to develop and explore how to best fit these into a classroom.

How do you do best develop the technology skills of your faculty and students? Do you have tech coaches that work along with teachers? What strategies have proven successful for providing time and support? How do you ensure that all students are provided opportunities to experience learning that is enhanced by technology?

*Responses to the question: Can you identify any gaps we may have in developing the technology skills of our faculty and/or our students? 
  • comfort level for teachers is still an issue . . . . 
  • Multi-media use
  • We could use more professional development and hands on workshops in this area.
  • multimedia.  We need Bob Pinta in all of our divisions to push us to do new things.  
  • "Device for every student. Supportive training with teachers showing how they use an application and then follow-up with release time.  Ex: Tony Reibel with math/science lunch and learn and then we have a follow-up release day on Sept. 15."
  • Time and adequate support with how the teachers want to use the tech. Please make it work for us instead of US having to conform to technology!  This is very frustrating.  Thank you!
  • time is an issue to learn and make mistakes and improve.  Class time is limited.
  • Yes. Many veteran teachers do not use technology as much as the younger teachers.  The assumption is that because kids have grown up with technology, they are able to use it.  However, students' abilities to use technology academically is not always a given. 
  • Work on increasing authentic learning experiences. 
  • Continue to inform the faculty about legal issues and good citizenship behavior.
  • Databases and digital evaluation.  
  • We need to identify where this fits into curr. and improve that.
  • Time.....
  • None known at this time.
  • there's not enough time in the day to learn/do it all
  • We are not given enough time to experiment with technology
  • We want one-on-one training in the classroom.  
  • We need time to deal with technology and not to be taken away from our classwork.  
  • There seems to be a gap between training and implementation.  More teaching in sessions to develop more skills.
  • We can be using the second day of the week to help learn many of these things.
  • Great individuality exists on our staff.
  • "Copyrighting. It's hard getting computers in our classrooms.... make it more accessible."
  • This is not a one-size fits all; we need to think behind the technology to think about what we want to accomplish then work with the tech that will get this done.
  • No, we seem to always be moving forward and progressing in terms of technology.  As a district, we try to incorporate as much tech. as possible to help meet the needs for our students. 
  • We just wondered if there was a relationship between age and the use of technology.
  • We need to make our learning of technology more content specific.  There are many programs that are offered to us but we are unsure if they apply specifically to us.  We could use more time truly being able to use the programs while being guiding to see if they are adequate for our specific classroom needs.
  • "It's always a challenge to find enough time to create and implement new technology and have a back-up plan in case it doesn't cooperate.”
  • TIME.  It is so difficult to give up prep time and teaching time to attend workshops.
  • "Online HWK/quizzes. Infinite Campus bells and whistles."
  • Time... after we get trained on something new, we need time to explore and integrate it appropriately.  There is so much out there but when we're pulled in several directions, we have to pick and choose what meets our students' needs the best.
  • Need to more time to explore and try things. 
  • The technology is not always readily available and unfortunately we often times can try to implement different elements, the technology isn't ready or doesn't work and then it does leave a teacher feeling very defeated when trying to use it in the future.
  • -Just doing a good job of knowing everyone is in a different place with their technology skills.  
  • Time. It's that simple. Frankly, we don't have it for the most part.
  • Time for training!
  • Didn't have time.
  • Time!
  • SHS does a wonderful job educating and supporting teachers with the use of technology.
  • hard to keep out with what is out there, different technology for different classrooms. 
  • Sometimes the technology frustrates teachers more than it helps them.
  • We have to build teacher comfort with specific technology skills so that they don't feel overwhelmed and can then successfully guide our student.
  • Perhaps the training that is offered is to too many people, and there may be a lack of time.  Sometimes, faculty needs more time to explore what is out there and try new things. Is there a "fear" that trying new programs, locks them in and makes people feel like they are committed!
  • Continued support/workshops/ideas with the new iPad technology.
  • Any gaps seem to be due to the increased and constantly increasing demands on our time.
  • We would just like to see the knowledge of new programs/websites to continue to come out (and examples of how other teachers are incorporating the technology into their classes).  
  • It's hard to have PD at the same pace that technology evolves.
  • Resources online students/faculty not aware of. 
  • It seems like we have to start talking about what exactly those student needs are before we can break down the technology and the teacher actions.  
  • incorporating technology into disciplines that are not tech friendly platforms for implementation.
  • There still needs to be more focus on responsibility in the use of technology.
  • web 2.0 elements
  • Perhaps more training/information about technology programs to implement in the classroom.  
  • Probably, but I really do believe we're working on closing those gaps.  It's just a matter of continuing to determine how to best incorporate technology into the classroom, both at the level of learning and teaching.  
  • -More in service needs to be devoted to technology
  • Hard to find time in schedule.
  • Students are learning new technology faster than the teachers.  There are so many more educational technology tools that the teachers don't have access to. And there is a divide between the divisions.
  • Lack of creativity & time to experiment. Teams can be an obstacle.
  • Not enough time
  • No
  • Giving more time for teachers to learn new technology.
  • Although we appreciate all of the technology available, it is important to know that it is like juggling lots of balls at the same time.  It is really hard to do everything well.
  • Workshops on new technology implements.  
  • No. Each division will utilize technology in different ways and different amount of times. We cannot expect PE to utilize technology as much as Science, but when appropriate it is being included by all divisions.
  • We could use more evidence of the effectiveness of technology to enhance learning to better help teachers select what to focus on learning to do.
  • Yes, it depends on the subject and course, as well as student population.
  • How do we even become aware of new technologies?  We are interested once we know them, but they are sometimes hard to find.
  • I think students need more access to computer labs and ipads -- it shouldn't be a struggle to get computers to kids like it is in this school.
  • "time and the shared learning opportunities during school time. use of technology to differentiate instruction, provide formative assessments on a daily or weekly basis and personalize the learning experience for all students! "
  • We have lots of opportunity to grow.  We probably just need more time.
  • Proficiency relies upon need of the resource, as well as our use of it (time dedicated to figuring it out, trial & error, etc...)
  • We to have "tech" people to be in the classroom with teachers as they learn technology.  This would boost their confidence and willingness to take some technological chances.
  • Encourage novice learners one way in which they can work with technology during the year to improve teaching and learning.  Too much can be overwhelming.
  • More recent developments in technology (wikis, blogs, etc.)....teachers seem to need to more initiative to develop skills using these more recently developed technology tools
  • We need more time!!!!!
  • Not at this time.
  • Ipad applications 

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