Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Beyond the Textbook?

As we start to transform our schools to prepare students for the 21st century we have to ask ourselves how the tools of the 19th and 20th centuries are changing. One of those such tools is the textbook. What will the textbook look like in the 21st century? In other words, what should the textbook look like in our classrooms right now?
Here are some resources that I collected on such conversations: 

Beyond the Textbook

You'll find some great reading there to get you thinking and to help us make decisions on how to best meet the needs of our students.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Heads Up Chimacum

At our District Tech Committee meeting today we started discussing the technology needs of our staff. Many teachers are working with equipment that is not up to par to put it lightly. One issue facing our different buildings is whether to purchase Mac or PC laptops. Mac laptops are more expensive and often aren't needed for the typical user (meaning if all you're doing is using the Internet, creating documents, and doing grades a PC does all that for much cheaper). Yet we still have people who are comfortable using Macs and are losing efficiency when given a PC and not trained on how to use Windows vs the Mac OS.

In the near future there seems to be coming a solution that would solve our Mac vs PC laptop problem. Our school board is very excited about having our district participate in an Apple leasing program to put an iPad into every student's hands. Picture that for a moment.

Now think of how that will transform your classroom.

Now let's step back and picture something else. Instead of replacing your broken down Mac laptop or your malfunctioning Dell laptop with a new laptop, you get an iPad instead. Maybe you still need a powerful machine so a cheaper than a laptop desktop computer was purchased for your desk area but your main device was an iPad.

What do you think? (Share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.)

This "plan" is still in the early stages but there is much excitement about going forward with it. And don't worry, this time machines won't just be placed in your hands without training. Oh no. This time there will be a deployment plan, maybe starting with a grade level, say 6th grade for an example (nothing set in stone). So every 6th grader gets an iPad (to take home even). Every teacher gets an iPad (not just the 6th grade teachers). Staff development includes PLC-type groups of middle and high school teachers. Did I say high school? Yes, because in a few years your freshman will all have iPads. This gives us all time to prepare for the onslaught of connected, mobile deviced kids! And this training doesn't have to be on top of all that you're doing already. This could even, sometimes, be embedded in our TPEP work since it all centers around powerful teaching and learning.

Feel the vision.

Let that sink in.

What do you think?

PS On a separate note I heard that the new District Website, which includes new building websites, is almost ready to go live! It might even go live before we head out for Winter Break! I can't wait to see it.