Engnology

Reflections of Blending English and Technology in the Classroom

Reflections Year 1 of BCLUW’s 1:1 Initiative

with 8 comments

I am an English teacher at a 1:1 high school (all students grade 9-12 have laptops provided to them by the school), and although planned to blog the entire first year of implementation, life carried me away and the year ended as quickly as it started – with no blog. Now opportunity and a little time, plus nudging from my PLN (Personal Learning Network), has brought me back to my original goal of blogging.  So here it is, number one, a frightful consideration… how will I be perceived? Will anyone even read my thoughts? How will blogging transform me as a teacher?

I begin my maiden voyage with a reflection of the first year of 1:1 (Collaborative notes from an end of year staff meeting)

Successes

1.  Each staff member found personal success with implementation in their classroom and tools for their particular curriculum area.

2.  Staff agreed that the students were responsible and took excellent care of their laptops. ( we all chuckled at the memories of  the mobile lab issues that we  used to face – not charged, missing computers, check-out nightmares)

3.  Students were more organized! Opportunity to teach appropriate use of social networks.

4.  Leveled the playing field – everyone had the same opportunities and tools.

5.  Higher level of creativity in assignments and projects.

6.  Other student leaders emerged, not just the typical ones.

7.  Less paper use.

8.  Classrooms without walls, communication with students and staff increased.

9.  Student engagement outside of regular school hours increased, especially in areas of student selected interests such as Blender, Youtube channels, etc.

10.  Finally, students commented on how it was now “fun” and “engaging” to come to school.

Challenges

1.  It was difficult and scary to give up control.

2. When is the best time to use in class – not just a novelty tool, but one to enhance the learning.

3.  Learning all of the new tools available. (this is where consistent PD helps)

4.  Must be specific with expectations.

5.  Getting the students up to speed. We were surprised how much they didn’t know. (folders, labeling, cameras, audio, etc.)

6.  Planning next year’s role-out.

7.  Continuing with the same vision without losing the excitement and drive, unity in faculty, and pushing students to evaluate their usage.

Advice

Finally, the staff reflected on advice they would give to other schools interested in implementing 1:1.

1.  Visit other 1:1 schools and bring a group including – teachers, administrators, board members, and STUDENTS!

2.  Must have the infrastructure in place to support the needs of all students in every classroom. (wi-fi, projectors, etc.)

3.  Enthusiasm is contagious, don’t let a small group of nay-sayers hold back what is best for the students.

4.  Must have sustained professional development. (We are bringing Apple back this year as well)

5.  Kids are kids, they will push limits, play games, get off task, etc. but you wouldn’t take away all the books in the school because someone was reading when they weren’t supposed to, would you? Sometimes they need a break!

6.  Finally, you are still in CONTROL of what happens in your classroom – classroom management!

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Written by sfarnsworth

June 29, 2010 at 1:50 pm

8 Responses

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  1. HEYYY, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW BLOG, Plus post! 😀 well, that’s a good start by the way!, help me with mine, and I’ll help you with yours! 🙂 Congrats Again!, hope you can keep this up, and you’ll be having my full support! 🙂

    MIDDLE SON

    July 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm

  2. Great first post. Nicely structured, capturing a succinct style immediately. Try to keep this up to aid your blogging productivity. I suffer from not being able to stop writing – sounds great but results in me blogging less than I wish to.

    Your school sounds exciting. Im glad that you have enjoyed the first year. Use this time wisely to reflect and plan for next year.

    Blog advice: You should add some buttons to allow readers to retweet, bookmark etc your posts. I’m sure that WP has some built in plugins that will let you do it. The WP master is Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw). You can see his blog here: http://dougbelshaw.com/blog/

    Also, go with it – allow your blog to evolve and don’t worry if things go wrong, they can always be fixed.

    Well done, I have subscribed to your feed and am looking forward to future posts! 🙂

    James Michie

    July 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm

  3. Great post! You covered so many important issues concerning 1-1 computing and your reflection will allow many districts to learn from you! I believe we both chatted over Twitter several weeks ago about starting a blog. You are ahead of me and now have inspired me to get going. Thanks.

    Laura Horan

    July 8, 2010 at 2:11 am

  4. You discuss the importance of writing and how all teachers can contribute to it. I agree as it all teachers (and a school) should have some common expectations regarding writing. It should not only be the English teacher driving the writing process.

    Good luck with your blog!

    Dave Bircher

    July 27, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    • thank you for the comment – I hope that all teachers view writing as a way to improve learning and realize that it can be utilized in their classroom. I feel most fear it because they think that they must comment/grade on GUM which is only one part, and not always the most important part.

      sfarnsworth

      July 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm

  5. This was just what I needed to read! My school is going through the 1:1 process and it seems like everyone is getting so fearful now. I will definitely share this list with my staff.

    Chandra Manning

    July 28, 2010 at 12:50 am

    • Thank you and good luck. Be sure to join the ning I created to help the collaboration between 1:1 schools, this may help some stressed staff members connect with like-curriculum teachers. 1:1 Ning Thanks for the comment!

      sfarnsworth

      July 28, 2010 at 12:54 am

      • Thanks for the Ning invite!

        Chandra Manning

        July 28, 2010 at 4:28 pm


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