Sunday, May 30, 2010

How do you learn technology?

When I was in college (over 20 years ago) I was required to take 1 computer class at ISU (programming using PASCAL) In that class, we never even used computers, we just programmed cards. My, how things have changed.

From then, everything I have learned about computers I have taught myself. I can't even tell you how many frustrated and agonizing hours I have had in front of the computer. When I started teaching high school business 4 years ago, I had to teach Dreamweaver (web page design). I knew nothing about the program and I had to try and stay at least one day ahead of the class. I learned a lot about the program but I was super frustrated until I really knew the program well. That's how a lot of teachers feel about technology, frustrated. They want to teach using technology but it's just so time consuming to learn the technology. Doesn't it make sense to have someone in each school building that can assist all the teachers with the technology they want to learn? It would save a lot of the teachers time too. Time they could be using developing their curriculum. Cyber Education: Achieving Obama's Vision

Many students in school today expect the teachers to know all about the programs we are teaching them, but that's an unreal expectation. When my freshmen students can't figure something out, they quickly raise their hand for help. What I figured out was real learning and problem solving can take place when students work at figuring things out on their own. Teaching Secrets - Don't Cripple With Compassion When they have a questions and raise their hand for me to help them, I give them a few minutes to see if they can do it on their own. About 75% of them they figure it out before I get to them. When they are juniors and seniors, a lot of the time they don't even ask me for my help, they just work on it until they can figure it out. What I am finding out too is students are learning from each other. Many times, if a student doesn't know how to do something, another student does and they are willing to teach them how.

In the past year, I had an idea for a new business I could start. I wanted to have a computer office uptown where adults could go to and ask for technology help. It wouldn't be a class, more like a help center where they pay an hourly fee to use. They could pay for a 1 to 1 class on a program they wanted to learn too. My local internet service provider was interested in working with me. They would give me their clientele and office space and in exchange I would be providing a service for their subscribers. Just a thought.

Wouldn't it be nice if teachers had a technology help center in school?

Here's another teacher blog site Teacher Update

Monday, May 24, 2010

Back in class

I am enrolled in Dr. Z's online class, Emerging Instructional Technology. I like all the things we are doing and I'm planning on using a lot of these Web 2.0 tools in my classes next year. I'm glad I don't have to drive 1 1/2 hours to class and I can attend class online but I'm having trouble keeping up with all we are supposed to do. I need to get in the habit of checking the announcements and posting to other people's blogs. The programs we are having to use are not hard to figure out, they just take time to do so and I haven't had a lot of time, with all the graduations, semester tests, baseball, etc. I'm looking forward to working with everyone!

1 to 1 Laptops for high school students

What is a 1:1 Student Laptop Computer Program?

In a 1:1 Program, the school district provides every student with his/her own laptop computer to use at all times - throughout the school day and outside of the school day. Learning activities are specifically designed to integrate the use of laptops.

Are there other schools in Iowa who have a 1:1 Student Laptop Program?
Yes. In 2009-10 there were fifteen schools in Iowa who had a 1:1 Program. In 2010-11 it is estimated that there will be forty schools, and even more in the years thereafter. Schools that currently have a 1:1 Program include BCLUW and South Hamilton. Schools that will likely be implementing a 1:1 Program within the next year or two would include South Hardin, Grundy Center, and Hampton-Dumont.

What grade levels would be involved with a 1:1 Student Laptop Computer Program?
1:1 Programs are typically implemented in high schools and middle schools. However, in some states where 1:1 Programs have been in existence for several years, the program has been expanded to include students in upper elementary grade levels.

Why would school districts pursue a 1:1 Student Laptop Computer Program?
Pursuit of a 1:1 Program is grounded in the fact that schools must prepare students to successfully compete for jobs in a global market – more and more students from around the world are competing for the same jobs. Through a 1:1 Program, students are taken to a new level of connectivity between curriculum and information technology as students use the computer as a learning tool, creativity tool, analytical tool, communications tool, and research tool – any time, any place. Acquisition of the 21st Century Learning Skills is greatly enhanced.

Is it a good idea to give every student a laptop computer to use?
Yes ? – if student use of computers is fully integrated into classroom learning activities, this directly leads to higher levels of learning (thinking), and helps students become proficient in the 21st Century Learning Skills.
No? – if student computer use is not fully integrated into classroom activities, it does not lead to higher levels of learning (thinking), or does not help students to become proficient in the 21st Century Learning Skills.

How much would a 1:1 Program like this cost?
There are four main areas where costs to the district would increase.
a) Infrastructure
b) Student Laptop Computers
c) Teacher Professional Development – Teacher development to learn how to fully integrate the use of laptop computers into the curriculum would require a lot of time.
d) Maintenance, Repair Costs – Costs to maintain the infrastructure, software and laptops will definitely increase. There is not a cost estimate to report at this time.

Does a 1:1 Student Laptop Program Improve Student achievement?
There are many factors that impact student achievement. Anecdotal data from 1:1 Schools suggests that graduation rates increase, the percentage of students going to college increases, dropout rates decrease, and the number of disciplinary cases decreases.

Where can more information be found about 1:1 Student Laptop Computer Programs?
A Google-type search can always be conducted. Apple Computer recommends the following websites:
• Maine International Center for Digital Learning
• Partnership for 21st Century Skills -
• Tour 1 to 1 Learning Programs -
• ISTE NETS Standards -
• University of Southern Maine -

What do you think? Do you think school districts should invest in laptop computers for all their high school students?