The current state of affairs, and what the future holds…

19 02 2008

Having been in my present position for a little more than 6 months, it is now time for me to reflect on my experiences so far.

My position had remained vacant for a considerable time before I took over last summer, so I knew I would have my work cut out for me. But I don’t think I realized just how much work it would entail.

My previous school was infused with technology. A well established 1-to-1 laptop programme had been implemented throughout the high school. Teachers used email and intranet postings throughout the day to communicate with one another. Moodle was used by a considerable number of the teachers and students, and a Technology Committee was well established. Teachers always seemed interested to try something new. Contrast this to my current school where I arrived to find great technology resources and equipment, but very few teachers utilizing the technology available to them. All teachers are provided with laptops which they use at school and are free to take home. And yet, most teachers check their email only once or twice per day. Most save all of their school-related documents on their laptops, even when provided with network storage space. Lab sessions involve little more than “doing old things in new ways”, such as creating a PowerPoint presentation or a one or two page poster.

Clearly, I have made some headway. I have started up a Technology Committee that meets once per month to help drive technology adoption and integration. A document repository has been created that allows teachers to file important curriculum related documents in an area accessible to all teaching staff. Moodle has been setup and is being piloted by a number of teachers. We are reviewing the list of educational software, and I am collating a list of internet resources that can be used in different year levels and subjects. Weekly PD sessions with teachers from each section is helping to improve technology use. Technology standards based on the NETS framework are being implemented and should be in place by the end of the year. An Intranet has been created to help foster ad-hoc discussions and bring the school community together. Policies and procedures are being fleshed out. Positive changes are being made. But there is a long way to go. In many ways I wish I had been at the school from the beginning to ensure that things started off on the right foot… unraveling bad habits is never easy. But I am happy with the progress I have made, and the staff have been very welcoming to the changes I am trying to implement.

Do I want teachers to utilize blogging, social bookmarking, podcasting, wikis, and other Web 2.0 technologies in their classes? Sure. But at this point, I need to start with the basics and ensure everyone has a minimum level of knowledge of the technology we currently have available. That will be my focus for now.

Jason

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