My last 4 weeks as an Education Technology Specialist

September 19, 2009 at 10:35 am | Posted in Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, Moodle, Planning, Professional Development, Tech Integration | Leave a comment
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I have read several posts in the last month discussing the question of what an education-based technology support person does. Here is a rundown of the highlights of my last 4 weeks at work:partsj

  • Update and preparation of training for new teachers during orientation
  • A Moodle course template for all Elementary, Specials and Spanish classes was created to ensure that all teachers had a course presence online. The course template is basic, provides important links and is easy to begin use by uploading and inserting newsletters and parent information. Staff were trained how to access their course, upload and attach documents and set the enrollment key. PE and Spanish courses had to be revised to allow teachers to share pages according to their teaching assignments and every teacher is now uploading  newsletters and general class information. Parents were also shown how to log on and enroll in their child’s courses to check for information each week. Students are using their course for resources during the school day in fifth grade as well.
  • Update of our class rosters for the digital component of our math program.
  • 5 new Smartboards were installed and adjustments were made to the projectors and the connection between the laptop and the SmartBoards. They are now ready for ongoing training to make the best use of this versatile teaching and learning tool.
  • Outlook parent email distribution lists were created with teachers
  • Various HelpDesk requests related to Moodle, school database, curriculum mapping.
  • As planned and ordered last spring, Media Kits were assembled, distributed and introduced to all grade levels. Each kit is shared by a grade level and contains a digital audio recorder, digital still camera, a Flip cam, microphones, a digital microscope and rechargeable batteries with charger. (Digital Storytelling, here we come!)
  • User accounts and student rosters were established with an online math practice program for 2 grade levels.
  • Because my position is teacher-support based and I am not a scheduled lab teacher, I planned and am co-teaching with the classroom teachers 3-4 Computer Lab bootcamp sessions for each grade level and class.
    • For grades 4 and 5 this has involved walking students through the first logons to the school network, school Moodle and class course, our keyboarding program and the digital component to our math program. I used the Build a Pyramid game within a Moodle blog to allow students to sample use of a Moodle tool within their course. Another important component was a digital safety and citizenship discussion focused on protecting yourself from friends who may want to post your personal information and images online.
    • Digital safety and citizenship is also addressed in grades K to 3 as well as the parts of the computer and how to turn on/off the CPU, monitor and adjust volume for monitor speakers and headphones.
    • In grades 2-3, students learned how to log on and practice keyboarding, start a Powerpoint portfolio or project and save it to their own folder in their class network folder.
    • Kindergarten and first grade students went online to Starfall through our school LS Links portal. They also created a KidPix image and first grade students saved it to their student folder in the Class network drive.
    • With pre-school students we introduced the names of the parts of the computer followed by guided practice using the mouse while exploring letters in Starfall or creating a picture in KidPix.

These bootcamp sessions have set the tone for the year by establishing common routines, vocabulary and tasks that will be reviewed and built on as the year progresses. These sessions, built on top of the incredible background work of our tech support team, has allowed students and teachers to use our available technology tools from the first week with greater ease.

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After-School Activites

October 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Collaboration, Learning is Messy, Moodle, Planning, Tech Integration | 1 Comment
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I’d like to follow up on 2 new initiatives I’ve written about. The first after-school activity is with my student group, Digital Media Kids. In my last post I wrote that I would discuss our direction with them (to a degree) by asking the following questions, “ what do you see us doing? What do you want to learn? What do you want to express? Who do you want as an audience? After we sort those out, then we can bridge, What do you want to express and how?”

Our first discussion brewed some excitement about sharing favorite interests and getting readers involved. We started posting informational articles and found the main posting interest now is on line games, so now we are allowing game-playing one afternoon, followed by a review. Posts have been expressed in slideshows, written and upcoming podcasts. I love that they are eager to learn different means to express themselves. We haven’t discussed or created essential questions, but it feels right to allow time to get the feet wet, and then stand back and look at meaning and relevancy. The group is five 8-year-olds and a 9-year-old and they are sharing at home and with relatives who are so far impressed. There is fun and learning each hour!

My second after-school initiative is with the grown-ups on campus- holding open-lab hours till 6 Monday through Thursday. It started well and has slowed. I’m not discouraged and plan, after report cards are done in 2 weeks, to get out and be more pro-active by suggesting new ideas and growing further with current projects.

Do any of you readers have similar sessions and in what ways are you succeeding?

Update: October 30, 2008

My position is PK-12 but I live in the LS and focus most of my energy there, my TI colleage focusing on the Middle and Upper school. But this afternoon one of the MS/US Enlish/Writing teachers came in for my After-school tech lab. She was unsure how to use moodle and how to set up the mandated class page “presence” in Moodle. We went over the basics looking at the Moodle site and then I asked, do you want to see some class examples? I loved her reply- “No, I want to do something that suits me and my classes.” So she then told me about how she teaches and showed me one of her daily 3-6 slide PPTs that serve as lesson support and organiztion support for students- many images and light on text. Very positive use of PPT. From there it was a no-brainer. We set up her page so she can upload each PPT as a PPS at the end of each day for students to revisit and absent students to use to get caught up. When she left, she said she has no interested in forums, chats, etc but may be interested in blogs… I know it’s not web3D, but everyone has to start somewhere and I am delighted to have another after-school colleague!

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