Tech Assessment at my School
Central York School District is committed to providing technology to its students that will encourage and enhance every students' learning and competence in 21st Century Skills. All of our students have access to technology in the classroom and every student from grades 4 to 12 is provided with an iPad-mini to use both in and out of school. As of next year, all teachers will be using Schoology to organize their classes and keep track of students' assignments and progress. This tool will be linked with the Skyward Student Management System. It will connect all aspects of the students' records including grading, attendance, classes, educational history, etc.
Most of our students are comfortable using technology and many tools are available to them. They actively engage with Google Drive, Notability, Book Creator, iMovie and any other apps they are comfortable using. They have the App Store and can download any App they choose to help them accomplish their learning goals. (A specific student's iPad can be "locked" to particular apps if it is found that they are impeding the educational goals of the student.) If a teacher wants students to use a free app that might be "blocked" they can request that the Tech Department check it out and then open it for that teacher's class. If necessary, the teacher can use their own computer, which is connected to our classroom projectors, to show a particular site. Our Media Center provides a variety of Data Bases that students can access for research. And there are several collaboration rooms and a One Button Studio for students to use to create more advanced digital projects. Our Tech Department is wonderful and is always ready to help the teachers and students alike when there are hardware or software issues.
As I spoke with a German teacher at my school that uses a variety of technology tools, I found that we do many similar things. There are several projects that she assigns to her students within each unit that require them to show understanding of the content through a digital presentation. Usually, the individual student or group can choose the app that works best for them. She currently uses Moodle to organize her class content, assignments, and assessments. She will be required to transfer her classes to Schoology next year since it will become the School District standard. Her students do projects ranging from presenting basic conversations to making a family tree with descriptions of family members, to showing a variety of native foods and talking about them. Most often her students choose to use iMove, Book Creator, Google Presentation, Power Point, and Prezi. The digital projects may take an extra class period and some time outside of class but the additional time is not excessive and well worth the effort. The fact that all of our students have email and Google Drive makes the transfer of information or assignments very easy for both the teachers and learners. One way she uses technology, that I have not tried, is to require students to retell a short story from their TPRS experience on a phone message to her. They call her Google Voice phone number and leave her a message with the story in German they have worked on in class. I think this would be a great idea and I hope to implement something similar next school year.
The other teacher I connected with was an English teacher. She uses many tech tools, focusing on the Google Drive apps for communication and collaboration and the Data Bases for research. She has a very organized class in Schoology and allows her students to work at their own pace, using completion folders. She is able to scaffold for her Learning Support students by assigning certain assignments to specific students. This method is private each student is only aware of their own individual work load. It is a very efficient and respectful way to deal with differences. Her students are able to produce quality work with the help of the teacher and other students through the collaboration of Google Docs and the ability to revise and improve their product. They think critically to share meaningful feedback to their classmates and feel good about what they have learned and can impart to to others. The technology allows for a much improved product and our Management Systems provide easy access to help and submission of assignments.
I have learned a great deal about possible future projects and goals from my colleagues and this assignment.