The have accepted the challenge (to themselves as well as their students) to equip our learners to be prepared to use technology as a tool for learning and communicating. I have worked with many educators over the years that just wanted to work their schedule and forget about the rest. They have no inclination for learning and no interest in expanding their personal horizons. Luckily this is not the case in my school. These educators may sometimes be trepidecious about trying something new, but they do try and they do their best to enter a project with an open mind.
As I sit in the back of a classroom watching educators and students work together to use their iPads, I am simply amazed and thrilled that everyone (teacher and student alike) are comfortable with the equipment and quickly grasp the variety of ways they can use the iPads to share thoughts, files and other forms of information. Within the first few days of school these 10 and 11 year old kids are creating digital journals, using pdf annotators, creating voice threads and participating in digital discussions. With a grace that usually takes us adults a while to master, these students smoothly settle into a world of digital and blended learning. I see students taking control of the class by projecting their own iPads to the front screen (using the apple TV) and sharing their screens with the rest of the class. In the time it may take to have 2 or 3 students physically go to the front of the room, 5 different students may have taken over the screen to share their stuff. I see educators encouraging students to participate in classroom digital discussions and different ways of learning experiencing different information.
During one class, as I sit in the back of the room, the educator guides the students in creating a digital notebook they will be using throughout the year. They discussed all of the different ways they can keep information in the notebook and it's different features. When the educator got stuck trying to remember how to add another page to this new notebook, I jumped in to help. I should have sat there and allowed the kids to take over. After showing how I would add a second page, one student looked at me like I car crazy! Then he states..."Mr. Thomas, just do this." and in a single tap on the screen he produced a new page. (my way took 3 taps) I love it when I learn new things!
This is just a sample of what I saw the first week of school. I have implemented several projects over the years and I have never had one go as smoothly and as strongly as this one. It is also the only one where I have had the opportunity to thoroughly work with a staff who is interested in learning. I work with an administrator who believes in professional development for educators and I work with a headmaster who believes in me enough to support technology goals in a variety of ways. THAT is a winning combination. I don't care how much money you have to work with (I'm fortunate in that regard, but I also have budgetary restrictions), if you don't have an administration AND a staff willing to collaborate and learn, you are waisting your time. A strong team today results in amazing learners and leaders tomorrow.
Location:E Shea Blvd,Phoenix,United States