Using Social Media and Web 2.0 to Differentiate Instruction
By: Mary Marotta Instructional Technology, Professional Development Consultant and Adjunct Professor
Technology Proposal:A large amount of the money earmarked for technology should spent so that as many teachers as possible will benefit from the purchase / purchases. By doing so, there would be a greater probability of having teachers use the same technology / technologies. Too often we spent money on what is considered best for our individual classrooms and if what is purchased is used, only a few students benefit from these purchases.It is my belief that many of my classmates / colleagues who are attending the technology class would like you to consider paying for the majority of the cost of purchasing laptops for teachers in our district. One amount that was mentioned was: teachers pay up to $500.00 and the districts picks up the tab for the rest. Some teachers may want to take advantage of the offer as soon as possible – others at a later date.I suggest that the district begin purchasing the computers FOR and WITH the teachers who want to buy them at this time. Other teachers should again be given the opportunity to purchase laptops next year.I believe that teachers will begin to use these laptops to enhance and improve instruction next year. Many of the teachers without these laptops will see their importance / value and will choose to purchase them if given another opportunity.It is my belief that our district should spend some of the money on technologies that will be used next year by as many teachers as possible. By doing so, we can begin to say, “In our district all teachers are…….”Bob
I think that many teachers would benefit from tablets in the classroom as well as at home. Myself I find it easier to work at home esp on IEPs and modifications/accomodations for students. I know I would use one immediatly! However, I know that the $500 kick in would be hard for many of the teachers.
I feel that there are a few things that I would love to use in my classroom. A web cam and headphones with microphones would be great. I also feel that the tablet PC with infocus would be very beneficial with aiding in differentiating instruction.
I would like suggest that if we pursue this course that the district buy a projector for each grade level or at least each building. I know the MS has at least 1 permanent projector in the lab and 1 portable projector in the media center. However since the lab is not always avilable it would be nice to have a portable projector that could be used.
Selfishly, I would love to set up my classroom as a model for technology implementation. Currently, the integration of technology is unwieldy, to say the least. I would love to have a 42" LCD screen mounted on the wall, thereby eliminating the cumbersome TV/DVD cart and the projector needed for various applications. This would necessitate a mount for the screen and an access point/transmitter and a tablet or laptop capable of playing DVDs and perhaps speakers. (I purchased inexpensive speakers for my classroom already. These may work adequately.) A dock for the tecnnology would avoid mess and eliminate (hopefully) electrical issues. Having this available would help generate excitement about the possiblities of using technology in the classroom among teachers as well as students. If we showcase innovative, effective use of technology, perhaps-PERHAPS-we could get more community buy in for funding.
This is a thought-in-process, so I may be back to add more. As someone who has worked behind the scenes to provide access to technology at the high school, I know some of the headaches involved. As the library media specialist, I've seen the teacher angst and student meltdowns and last minute horror stories when papers won't print and disks won't open, when computers won't connect, when websites aren't available or required software needs to be installed.I don't think a mobile lab would work. I just don't think the mobile lab would last long enough. Not only do you have to deal with security, recharging and taking inventory every day, but you also have to consider updates and software additions. Who is going to do this? Any movement of a computer would add to potential disaster - and these would be moved several times a day. If you have a lab of 20 computers, but five aren't working on any given day that just wouldn't work for a hands-on class experience. That is also my issue with ANY lab in school - you really need to have someone physically there to fix the printer issues, connection problems, disk/cd/thumb drive problems...otherwise the lab is pretty much useless for classes.I would love to see teachers get tablets. There are many people who move classrooms during the day or have duties/preps in places where any computer (never mind their own computer) is available. Having access to a computer at these times would make us so much more productive, and even make duties more palatable. Then you could work on projects at home and not have to rely on saving everything to a thumb drive or burning to a cd. Thumb drives are wonderful - but are easy to lose or get eaten by the family dog :-)And we absolutely need a place for teachers to store documents/files online that is safe, backed up and accessible from any networked computer (like the P drive at the Primary school). We also REALLY need a drop-box type feature on School Center or somewhere on the network. I have seen so many terrific projects dropped because we didn't have a good way to save the student projects. In the library, we've tried emailing, saving to My Documents, saving to one thumb drive, saving to different disks... It really is a nightmare. And then there is the issue of a student saving his/her project to a particular computer, coming back during a study to find that computer being used by a student in a class. Not having a protected, backed up, easily accessible place to save means there is a high probability of something happening in transition to that project or term paper. Having the drop box would also make it so much easier for the teacher to access the required projects. This would alleviate so many headaches for the librarians, the teachers and the students.
I had Mary delete my first comment because I have changed my ideas.I think Pam's comments are insightful AND knowledgable given that she sees students and teachers interacting with the technology on a daily basis.Our biggest priority should be an educational technology position, yes, similar to what Mary does at Nashoba. We have been energized by all the possibilities. Her expertise in one week has brought us all so far. Imagine the possibilties...Secondly, a group of teachers committed to technology could be provided tablets, along with wireless (this can be done on a classroom basis quite cheaply if only a few), and installed projectors. We, the faculty, students, and administration, need to see state of the art technology in action. This resembles Martha's idea, except just spreading the wealth a bit more. Those teachers participating should have to commit to ongoing PD throughout the year.As Pam said, these thoughts are ongoing...
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