Ready, Aim, Fire…
As we come to the end of Course 5, it is a time to reflect on how the project has evolved. Moving from the role of teacher to administrator, the project looked a little different from a standard unit plan. Our target, or our long-term goals for the iPad program are the following…
Given the number of new initiatives addressed at the start of the year, our group did well to establish the foundation for building 21st Century skills…
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
3. Communication and Collaboration
We set-up the policies, procedures, and other behind the scenes work needed to help teachers and students focus on the learning and not the management.
As a new administrator in a new school, in a new country, along with a new IT Director, and the tech teacher taking on a new role of IT Coach, we have attempted to be purposeful and thoughtful with establishing the parameters of each person’s role and working on establishing the fundamental relationships needed to move a program forward.
While it would have been nice to have been ready right at the start of the year with a plan for the iPads, the development of the plan engaged stakeholders in the conversation and set the foundation for future conversations as to how technology will be integrated and supported in the curriculum.
Relationships are key to moving forward any initiative. Here are few words reflection from our ITC, Dainty.
I am thankful for having a great group of professionals to work with. I believe that teachers do feel supported with this new initiative and they are gradually taking advantage of the availability of the iPads and coaching opportunities.
Timing, like anything is important with the implementation plan. As I experience the school calendar at RIS, I can better understand the requirements that pull at teachers at certain times of the year.
As the ES iPad committee continues to meet, we will collaboratively look at how the use of the iPads will go on for the upcoming months. While this approach is a bit ambiguous, the flexibility built into the plan will hopefully reduce any of the stress associated with trying something new in the classroom, but still allow enough support and structure to support appropriate risk-taking that will move teachers to tackle all four levels of the SAMR model—Substitution, augmentation, modification, and a longer term goal, redefinition.
Like a good lesson, we are leaving room to monitor and adjust in order to best fit the needs of our pre-school through 1st grade classrooms.
While in retrospect, it might have been advantageous to work closely with one or two specific teachers, given the number of school initiatives being put in place this year and the number of other changes, this is something to further investigate as teachers get their teaching routine down and feel more comfortable to take on additional challenges.
If monetary restrictions were not as tight, it would have been advantageous to have more devices available for teachers and students to work with. While teachers are being encouraged to use their professional development funds (about 300+ dollars can be applied towards a purchase of a tablet or laptop), without the device available to experiment with, teachers become further behind. While the device is not the key, getting close to an iPad or (an iPod/iPhone even) helps build common knowledge and vocabulary. Being familiar with a device can potentially unlock the doors for some to see how this type of technology can seamlessly work in the classroom. Use of a personal device changes the way humans behave. If teachers are not from the generation that is using personal devices so regularly, then making that shift can be all the more challenging.
One particular highlight from our efforts to establish an elementary student friendly acceptable use agreement, was the graphic designs created by RIS high school students. The resulting designs are included in the video below:
As we continue on our journey to hit our target with the ES iPad initiative, I believe that we have a solid stance on a good foundation. One step at a time, one teacher at a time, we are gathering the data and building the momentum needed to validate the purchase of additional sets of iPads.
For our next steps we will have more opportunities for sharing and celebrating teacher and student work via the web, staff meetings, and lunchtime professional development opportunities.
While many teachers are not currently at the redefinition stage, we (ES faculty) do have redefinition, modification, augmentation, and substituion in the conversation… We are including this on our word wall and deepening our understanding of these terms. So while we may not be at the redefinition stage yet, we definitely now have it in our sights.