Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Monday, November 17, 2014

“Teaching Forward: Effective Technology Integration in Schools”

At the MASC conference on 11/8, technology specialists extraordinaire Jennifer Judkins of Lynnfield (@jennjudkins), Jenn Scheffer of Burlington (@jlscheffer), and Traci Jansen of Wilmington (@tbjansen) addressed how school leaders can ensure that investments in infrastructure and devices are maximized.

They displayed a great visual drawn by Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) “on the role technology should play in teaching and learning spaces” (find it here: http://www.teachingquality.org/content/blogs/bill-ferriter/technology-tool-not-learning-outcome), and then moved on to Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model (https://sites.google.com/a/msad60.org/technology-is-learning/samr-model) that shows a more academic approach to same. They shared that much of technology use is actually substitution for actions currently achieved by another method like research on-line vs. print library, note taking and annotation on a device rather than on paper, and digital submission of work.

They spoke to a wide variety of technology issues, challenges, and successes in schools, including embedding 21st century skills using technology; the popular and useful student help desk at the high school level; the benefits of Google Classroom (“helping teachers create and organize assignments, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with classes” / ref: classroom.google.com); and having students memorize and recite a “digital citizen rap” in order to hold them accountable for responsible use.

Some tips: develop a technology philosophy, educate stakeholders, and ask students to pilot devices before making large-scale purchases; be cautious when purchasing apps since they can't be recycled between/among students; and encourage parent understanding for home use (e.g. no devices in bedrooms).

Burlington Public Schools will hold an 11/20 session and two spring sessions entitled “1:1 in Action," featuring student-led tours and an overview of the help desk program.