This year is a technology plan rewrite year for us. Schools in California have to have a technology plan in order to be eligible for the Federal E-Rate program or eligible to write for any competitive grants the State may pull out of their Federally funded hat, such as EETT Enhancing Education Through Technology grants. The likelihood of grants in this economic environment is slim, but be that as it may, most would agree that a technology plan is good etiquette for school districts.
Technology has become an integral part of our normal day outside of school. Technology should be just as integral in our students' learning day. This idea is the foundation for our current rewrite and will be the catalyst for some major goals in our new plan.
All good plans dealing with education must start with the needs of the student. Those needs are specific and targeted to student learning. Whether you are planning the construction of a new school, or planning the use of technology, your first step is to examine the needs of your learners and design for their future. For instance, among the skills that we would like students to leave our school with is the ability to solve real problems.
Real problems in this instance are not the problems, 1-12 on page 201 of the textbook. Real problems are complex, multifaceted challenges, based in real life that are not solvable in a 50 minute class period. There are no shortages of examples, or models of real problems that we can use to introduce students to concepts and skills real world problems. Crack open almost any piece of classical literature and you will read about real problems and how the characters of those stories solved their real problems. The skills that we discover in those stories are very often the same skills that we would like our students to come away with from our schools. However the world has changed since those stories were created, and our problems and solutions have become much more sophisticated. The tools required to solve current problems have kept pace with the challenges and have become just as sophisticated. The problems of today can not be solved by the tools of yesterday.
Draft #1 - Student Goal (a) Ability to Solve Real Problems
- Seek collaboration
- Locate and identify experts
- Build Teams
- Communicate in multiple modes
- Defining the problem and report the solutions
- Create and Ask questions
- Listen to Understand
- Respect Different views
- Reflect on what you hear
- Don’t jump to conclusions
The skills in the goal above say nothing about technology. However, in order for students to acquire these skills to mastery, they need to use technology. Reading between the lines above, how many different ways do you see technology utilized in the skills? ( I realize that this may be difficult if you are unfamiliar, but that's where the professional development component of the technology plan kicks in.) Also, the skills listed above could become the start of a rubric that evaluates students, not on correct multiple choice answers, but on student product (digital portfolios.)
What would you add?
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