Thank you to Wes Fryer for asking me to participate as a guest blogger.
I work at Yarmouth High School as the Instructional Technology Integrator. In March, we had the pleasure of having Wes come present a full day of learning #PlayingWIthMedia to our district . As part of our day, we had all teachers purchase, download, and read the first chapter of his book #playingwithmedia. Wes' presentation and follow up has had a huge impact on our work K - 12. Some of the projects done this year are featured in our Student Showcase.
School wrapped up for students on Friday and on Tuesday we start our summer class for teachers. It's one of the favorite parts of my job. Along with my esteemed colleagues, Mike Arsenault and Cathy Wolinsky, we have worked very hard to help teachers integrate technology in to their classrooms during the year. As David Warlick wrote in his recent blog post Should Tools Drive the Learning?, we understand the delicate balance of teaching the tools and modeling classroom practice. It's tough because we want teachers to know about new tools they may not be exposed to in any other way. Students may know about the tool but don't have the experience to use it in the right ways for learning. We try to design our classes to meet somewhere in the middle.
This year will be a continuation of #playingwithmedia We have chosen to continue reading the section in the book on digital text to model how writing fits in with one of our district goals: Educators will design activities, assignments, and assessments that increase student engagement and learning. We model certain tools on the first day and a half, and then we give teachers time to work. The teachers are able to try new things without the pressure of other school commitments. They propose a project that they will use in their classroom in the fall. They work collaboratively in groups for differentiation, reinforcement and collegiality. Students assist us. They are both knowledgeable about the tools teachers are using as well as great sounding boards for projects teachers are planning. Students learn what goes in to a planning a project and come away with an appreciation for the commitment that teachers give to their classroom practice. We work for three full days and then teachers go off for the summer. We reconvene in September for another work day. Teachers have had a chance to try some things in their classrooms with students and come to this work session to tweak or refine their projects. Then in October, we share the work that was done. Mike, Cathy, and I are always blown away by two things: first what amazing ideas they come up with, and second how different the project is from the proposal! We always say we learn so much from our own course!
And that's what it's about: LEARNING. Feel free to come learn with us. And we'll be sharing as the week progresses. The website and blog will grow and change as we all contribute. We hope that you find it useful to your work. What will new things will you be learning this summer?