Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Visit with Steve...

Tonight Steve Langford shared his experience as the CIO of the Beaverton School District and his vision of creating a plan to provide equitable technology deployment and use in the district. It made me realize how fortunate I am to be working in West Linn-Wilsonville. We are a much smaller district--we have 13 schools and Beaverton has 50! That creates a huge challenge for Beaverton to provide equitable technology opportunities for all fifty schools.

Our district has used several bonds over the past ten years to fund major technology upgrades district wide. The technology department has developed a plan for our district in terms of both technology purchases and maintenance, but also staff development. This plan is supported periodically through our bond monies and then of course individual schools add to the technology of their building through other funding sources.

I can really appreciate the challenge that districts face in trying to ensure that all schools in their district have the technology they need and that all teachers receive the professional development necessary to integrate the technology appropriately. It is a huge challenge--but a very important one to attempt to resolve.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February 12, 2009

Website 201
Tonight we learned about websites. I got a chance to try to make one of my own using google site and I found them a bit challenging to create but was able to navigate through fairly well on my own. I feel good about the fact that I am becoming more comfortable working in these new programs.

Don Woodward came to share about designing websites. He had an excellent powerpoint that he used to demonstrate poor and high quality websites. I learned so much by looking at his weak and strong examples. He gave an excellent presentation that helped us see what needs to be considered when creating a website.

He reminded us to focus on Tips for Effective Communication:

  • Prioritize
  • Determine what visitors MUST find out at the site
  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it relevant to your target audience
  • Make the message impossible to miss
  • Effective use of typography

Don also introduced us to several really interesting websites and I have chosen to list a few here. They are: and and We viewed them for their arrangement and also the information we can learn from them.

Don also took the time to include each of our website pages in his presentation. We were able to see what our school district's have done well in creating our websites, and what we might do to improve it. He gave me some great ideas about what to do to improve our page and I want to talk with our IT to see if the suggestions he made can be implemented. A huge improvement would be to limit the words and information on the front page and to include more visual images of our beautiful school, both inside and out. This was a really helpful session and I want to speak with staff about making some adjustments to their pages based on the information I learned tonight.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday, Feb. 5th, 2009

This evening was a sort of potpourri of information and idea gathering. I was really intrigued by the use of clickers in the classroom and want to talk to our IT about investigating this opportunity. We are working with our staff around formative and summative assessment and the use of learning targets and so the idea of using clickers for immediate feedback interested me.

I was also excited about the opportunity that the new ItunesU provides for us in the educational field. I can't wait to go and show our teacher-librarian tomorrow morning.

I am very interested in several of the books and journals that Todd shared and am going to have our school invest in a few of them for myself and others to look at. We need to develop our understanding of the potential that educational technology has to offer us.

And finally, Paul had many important ideas to share and I look forward to thinking through the concepts he presented and the possibilities he gave us. This class really has me thinking...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tonight was very thought provoking. The article I read generated a lively conversation between myself and four other class members and has made me more convicted. Technology has a great potential to positively impact education but we must move with care and purpose. Technology alone will not make the difference--technology embedded into instruction will.

I was also really inspired by what Scott had to share, both professionally and personally. I have always fostered student creativity through various art forms. When I taught I used the lunch box and had students create short films. It was a wonderful experience for us all. As an administrator I have gotten caught up in other areas and had forgotten the power of film...I will find a way to bring this to our school. And as a mother, I am excited to show my son the website and short films on the Signal-to-Noise website. They are awesome and he is leaning towards looking into film as a career. This might help him make a decision.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

TED Video Respon

In class we watched a video of Sugatra Mitra sharing his findings from a number of experiments related to education and the use of technology. I found it very intriguing.

He began by having us think about the remoteness of an area and it's relationship to the quality of the education found there. He shared a number of supposed reasons for poor education in remote areas, including the lack of technology and materials. But what he discovered was that the desire of the teacher to teach in the remote area had much more of an effect on the success, or lack of success, of the students.

He then discussed the phenomenon of high performing schools gaining less educational strides through technology than under performing schools. In our world today, schools that can afford technology are often schools in areas where students would perform well regardless of the technology. He stated, however, that schools where students do not have technology, and are underperforming, actually make much greater gains in learning when technology is introduced.

In summary, Sugatra made the case for placing technology in underperforming schools and creating opportunities for students to teach each other. Their natural interest, curiosity, willingness to experiment, and group learning are a perfect match for using technology to guide their learning.