I haven’t been involved in a foul mouthed rant with the paps in London as part of my UK tour, but i am feeling slightly overwhelmed by the task in front of me…If i was taking part in a pie eating competition, it would be the pie eating competition involving pies that got bigger, rather than smaller, with every bite.
I thought i would give a brief overview of what i have done so far and how I was planning to develop my quest to replace paper as my schools moves towards implementing a 121 programme. In the last few weeks i have forced myself to be both digital and paperless in the planning and delivery of my lessons. This has had a huge impact on my pedagogic approach and i have had to ignore the itching in my fingers and the urge to write something on paper or a board…
In short, I use the pc labs for 1 lesson a week, where students research and work in teams. I have booked the school tablets for another lesson where they work on specific collaborative tasks through Evernote. The third lesson is discussion and feedback where the students are encouraged to share resources and make notes using their mobile phones.
In addition, I plan on my pc with office note and share schemes of work & resources through Dropbox. I have also shared the assignment grades/ongoing gpa with my students through Google docs. This process is giving me a good idea of my limitations and areas to develop, that of the students and also that of the technological infrastructure.
At the moment i am using a combination of net book, pc, tablet & blackberry and I am finding that the “traditional” skills such as writing, reading and researching can be transposed pretty seamlessly to the pc based tools. Also, I am finding that the use of Evernote and Google docs naturally enables a more collaborative approach to work from the students. This is the point, right ? To use ICT as a part of and not an add-on to subjects and material so t cover and skills to develop ?
With the tablets, as well as Evernote, I am trying to use animation and drawing apps like Stickman and Draw and the basic camera app as a way of teaching the basics of film making for my IB course. Ideally, i would have them all use tablets every lesson that they are not in the ram hungry pc lab…but at the moment there are only a limited number in the school and, unfortunately, i have to share with my colleagues. Another way of looking at this is that I am enjoying lively debate with my co-workers…but seriously, there are some interesting opportunities to work across departments and kill two subject birds with one tablet!
In terms of how the school will progress towards 121, this experience will undoubtedly help. At the moment there are a lot of extra-curricular considerations to take into account such as budget, idiosyncratic laws governing the importation of digital devices into Argentina and the inflexibility of some of our current courses when it comes to 21 C teaching and learning, However my own experiences are certainly helping to clarify things as far as I am concerned.
My plan is to work for the next month looking at the curriculum, being a quasi, unofficial “curriculum technology coordinator” and try to look at where best the fit of PC as an integrated teaching and learning tool will fit. Also, I want to try to identify where we, as a school, have the freedom to change and develop pedagogical paradigms to accommodate this best, without being constrained by exams echo the “bells and cells” pen and paper mentality of exams requiring students to regurgitate facts using pens and papers in order to measure learning !
At the same time as trying to immerse myself and go “all Tron”, I have been trying to ascertain the strength and readiness of our technical and teacher training and support infrastructure, which seems to be the hidden and yet vital component in a successful 121 programme. This is being done through a basic audit and conversations with the ict dept. Also being fine tuned is a series of Google doc questionnaires to go to staff, students and pupils to look at perceptions and expectations of 121 use by teachers and students as well as the views on where the school is at the moment.
Hopefully following this, we will have a much clearer idea of infrastructure and needs from a practical point of view as well as the practical and pedagogical areas to develop and support among the staff and students.
The stage after this is to involve all the members of the community in drawing up an acceptable uses policy for IT.
Phew, i think i need a lie down, but these pies won’t eat themselves !!!