Friday, May 9, 2014

Ed Tech 501: Reflection of Learning

The last time I was a student was 20 years ago.  In 1994 I graduated with a B.Ed in French Immersion meaning most of my degree was taken in French.  As an anglophone this was quite a challenge so I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to be taking a course in English.  That being said, writing academically was a bit of a challenge for me.  Luckily, my wife is a reference librarian and she patiently proofread my work and lectured me on how to use APA properly.  

I found the course engaging in both content and delivery.  I wasn’t sure how I would like taking a course online but I found it quite enjoyable.  Learning about tech trends was fascinating but the artifact that I’m most satisfied with dealt with the digital divide.  As a social studies teacher, I teach about social injustice quite often.  For me the issue of a digital divide is a social justice issue which is why I think I was so interested in the artifact. I also found doing my own research such as surveying my staff and students for this artifact rewarding.

I truly learnt a great deal about technology during this course but using Google+ may have had the greatest impact on work environment.  I have already convinced my department members that this is the way we should communicate social studies business.  My next mission is to convince my administration that Google+ can be a positive communication tool for the entire school.  I think there is still a place for email (perhaps for official or formal messages) but for most of the daily inquiries that go on in a school among staff members, Google+ is perfect.

I hope the next course I take will be as rewarding as Ed Tech 501 has been.  

Sunday, May 4, 2014

School Evaluation Summary

Since the beginning of this course, I have been thinking a great deal about the technological status of the school I work in and asking myself a lot of questions.  Does it have adequate technology?  Are staff using technology appropriately?  Where do we need improvement?  Having the opportunity to formally evaluate my school's technological maturity has allowed me to look into this further and I found it very interesting.  I work in a very large high school where departments rarely interact with each other so the opportunity to investigate the status of technology in the entire school was fascinating.

I was pleased to learn that most areas of the school have very good access to technology and that the technological infrastructure was very strong and reliable.  It was encouraging to learn about the long term commitment to technology at the school and district level as well.  Our recent move to the Google platform has allowed technology to move to the  forefront of the collective consciousness of the staff and students which is creating a real tech culture in the building.

I had always assumed that there was a technology plan but had never seen one.  I was a bit surprised at how informal the planning process was at the school level.  In fact, the vice principal responsible for technology had not actually written a plan until I inquired about it.  This might explain why the plan focuses on hardware acquisition and neglects any professional development.  In reality, the purchasing of computers is a part of the school budget plan which happens on a regular basis and is constantly reviewed.  I was asked what I thought should be included in the technology plan so I made some suggestions from our in-class readings. I am happy to report that Ed Tech 501 is having a positive impact on my school.

For the most part, I confirmed  few of my assumptions about my school.  We have some islands of teachers doing great things with technology and we have some islands of tech resisters.  There is need for professional  development with a technological focus in order to bring these two islands closer together.  Above all, I confirmed that we are doing an admirable job at my school and we are moving in the right direction.  If we continue our commitment to technology I think we will achieve intelligent technological maturity and move  from our current status of integrated.

Here is the link to my Maturity Benchmark Survey and my School Evaluation Summary.