Time To Go All In!

The dawn of the 2011-12 school year is just days away, hard to believe!  This year will mark my fifth as an “edublogger” and a crusader for the use of web 2.0 tools, interactive technologies, and social media in our class rooms. I have pushed my staff to use Twitter, we have Facebook pages for our library, student services and several classrooms, and I have used Youtube as a way to address issues in the school community.  We have classes creating content collaboratively using Google docs, Blogging to write to a wider audience, Skyping with experts outside of the school, and digitally connecting with the National Center for Super Computing at the University of Illinois for chemistry applications.  We were successful in obtaining a EETT grant to procure multiple laptop labs and IWB’s for classrooms.  The grant also allowed us to provide many hours of professional development for our staff about using the new equipment.   On the face of it, it seems like we have done a lot to change the way try to engage our students at PCHS, but there is so much more we can do to give the learners (students and teachers) self direction and further engage them.  As I reflect about what has changed in the past four years, I am pleased to know that we have tried to embrace what many schools still have not yet begun to explore.  I have a great staff that is trying very hard to make a learning environment that is personally connected and engaging.  We have nurtured several teacher leaders to get out in front and lead by example with the use of social media and other technologies.  My charge this year is make these practices more systemic. I have to find more ways to say yes to innovative ideas. Sometimes I will need to simply get out of the way and let my staff do the leading. We need to make the above practices the norm not the exception.  I have to continue to find ways to provide the necessary tools and exposure for our staff to make our school more geared toward student centered learning. The biggest barriers to getting to where we need to be is the need to get more tools in the hands of students and the absence of adequate bandwidth to access the information and services that are essential for engaging today’s learners.  In a sense we have dipped our toes in the water, we have been dealt a good hand, NOW IT IS TIME TO GO ALL IN!

Photo by Banspy on Flickr

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