Year 3 AISI Technology Presentation

Here are links to our slides, text, and video for our pecha kucha presentation on year three of our AISI IV Technology project in Elk Island Public Schools.

Presenters:
Donna Griffin @dgriffy | d-constructed.ca

Our email addresses are firstname.lastname@eips.ca



Script:
  1. A key outcome of our project is student engagement, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything has been specifically geared for students. Student engagement is affected by things like teacher attitudes, technology infrastructure, and many other factors that we’ve tried to address through this project.
  2. Part of this has been the implementation of new technologies. Technology implementation may have started with computers and interactive whiteboards, and we continue to teach staff how to use these, but thankfully many people are realizing there are many possible tools for teacher and student use.
  3. There has, of course, been a big push for the adoption of iOS devices in schools. These are such enticing devices that we often find people exploring new ways to use them in education. Through another project we purchased an iPad 2 for each school and central office administrator.   We have made available for system use a set of iPod Touches but we are still in the early stages of discovering the potential for these.
  4. Related to this, we have more and more students and staff interested in bringing their own devices into our schools. While this solves the issue of student access to devices, we are still struggling with issues of seamless, pervasive access to the Internet. We also anticipate that there will be issues of equity among students.
  5. One successful change has been with our implementation of Google Apps. Where these have been used, they have served to facilitate collaboration, resource sharing, and other innovative classroom practices. Students can work together, do peer assessment, submit their assignments digitally, and publish for an authentic audience.
  6. We’ve also started looking at the use of social media as a tool for teachers and schools to facilitate communication with students, parents, and the community. We’ve looked at suggestions, guidelines, and best practices for using Twitter and Facebook. This is an ongoing conversation, and we continue to consider privacy, safety, staff workload, and parent concerns.
  7. In general, though, our main realization has been that it’s not about finding applications for particular tools. Rather than exploring how a tool can be used, we encourage staff to consider what they want to achieve and what student products should look like. Once the educational purposes have been determined, appropriate technologies can be applied.
  8. We have had many successes throughout this project. One of the most outstanding has been student collaboration through the use of technology. Many students have been able to collaborate with others in their class, or with students in other classes across the district using Google Apps, Moodle, Edmodo, videoconferencing, et cetera.
  9. There are many examples of staff collaboration as well. Teachers are sharing resources and information via email and Twitter, their own websites, and using other technologies. We’ve often found, though, that the best way to initiate this is through face-to-face interaction, so we have tried to facilitate this with release time for teachers.
  10. An important aspect of technology use involves citizenship and safety. We are looking at ways to educate students, and staff, about issues such as digital etiquette, copyright, how to avoid phishing and other scams, and general responsible behaviour online.
  11. Related to this is critical thinking with respect to online resources, both for staff and students. We discuss behaviours such as considering the source of information, healthy scepticism about online claims, cross-checking, and generally questioning the veracity and usefulness of information.
  12. Communication in all forms of media is another important skill. Besides literacy and numeracy skills, students should be able to express themselves well in other media. For example, they should be developing their understanding of storyboarding, different styles of video production, and the general mechanics of creating a multimedia presentation.
  13. Technology can help us do things the way we have always done them, or it can lead to disruptive learning. With technology implementation we can take the opportunity to rethink what we want students to be able to do. We can encourage staff to reconsider cherished practices and keep only the ones that seem to facilitate student engagement.
  14. Through all of this we relish opportunities for new conversations about teaching practice and the learning process. Many staff and students are willing to discuss changes in pedagogy, including processes that technology can enable, such as flipped classrooms, asynchronous and personalized content delivery, and new ways of demonstrating and assessing learning.
  15. One of the lessons we’ve learned through this process is that Administrative support is essential. Schools that have seen the most success have been those with school leadership committed to supporting the implementation of technology. We have worked hard to encourage Administrators to develop their own competencies and to model these for their staff.
  16. In a similar manner, students need teacher support  to use technology effectively and efficiently. We continue to encourage teachers to develop their knowledge, skills, and attitudes with respect to technology, and to model that for students. Teachers should be learners along with their students, and be willing to experiment or try things that may not work the first time.
  17. Technology infrastructure is another significant contributor to the success of a technology project. The technology needs to work without frustrations or delays, users shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time waiting or troubleshooting. Teachers and students need sufficient access to reliable technology.
  18. Related to this is technology decision-making. It is essential to have knowledgeable educators involved in the decisions about implementation, timelines, purchases, filtering, and the general direction of technology in the school district.
  19. That being said, it is increasingly important that school districts have a clearly defined and communicated direction for technology. If it is just left to individuals or even individual schools they will, at best, reinvent the wheel and, at worst, waste resources and squander opportunities for innovation.
  20. In conclusion, we want to thank you for this opportunity to talk for a few minutes about how we in Elk Island Public Schools have been approaching the technology portion of our AISI Four project. If you have any questions or comments beyond this session, feel free to contact us via email, Twitter, Google Plus, or wherever else you can find us online.