We had our first Tech Team meeting yesterday to discuss the future of the technology program at our school. Here are some questions and concerns that popped up during our talk.
Apparently, some of our high school students are using their iPads for non-educational use during class. You know... goofing off. Of course, like passing notes in class, it's not exactly easy to monitor such things while doing everything that a teacher needs to do in class. Right now the mindset with the teachers is that students will learn to sink or swim with the technology: learn to use it as a toy or a tool, but learn the hard way. However this all begs a question. Is there a way to monitor these things? What techniques are there to "catch students red-handed"?
More and more teachers at our school are building their own web sites, using whatever platform they want to build it from. Personally, I use Google Sites, which I find incredibly easy to use. Some of my colleagues use Weebly, which they claim is incredibly easy to use. The problem is that parents find themselves having to check multiple web sites for various things. We are starting the search for a program/web site/app that will handle as much as possible of the following things -- administrative tasks, lesson plans, grade, classroom web sites, parent notices, teacher emails, etc. What's out there that's good? What does your school use?
What is the best method for turning work in paperlessly? If we created a school-wide consistent method what would it be? Have you played with iCloud enough to know if it works well? Would you use Dropbox? My colleague likes SugarSync. Are you familiar with that?
We're also looking at creating a three year technology plan. Where does one start with that? It seems hard to make a plan when we don't know what technology we'll be looking at in three years or what teachers and students will be able to do in three years. Of course, creating a plan is a whole lot better than letting each teacher decide what cool project they are going to do with the kids. This isn't entertainment. It's training our students to be lifelong learners and technology users.
How do we convince teachers who are overworked and undertrained to use their iPads to the fullest so the students use their iPads?
Finally, what is one site that needs to be unblocked at school so I can be the best technology collaborator possible? I'm thinking it's Twitter, but believe it or not, there are some Blogger pages I can't open. I'm going to fight battles one at a time. What should be my first one?
I'm sending out my questions, hoping that some collaboration can happen with tech leaders outside these walls. Maybe you can't answer them all, but I'd love to hear anything you have on the topics.
Thanks for your help.