Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Technology in the Classroom...Where is it?

Image from Google Images
To have or not to have...that is the technology question in education.  More often than not, it's the "not to have" side, and it's true for our district as well.  Recently, our technology department has been rolling out a new website designed as a "one stop shop" where teachers and students can access email, Powerschool (a management database), Schoology (a social networking type site for teachers and students), and Google Drive (for document creation and file sharing).  It sounds good, and they are continually sending out emails to encourage people to use this website.  The only problem...our operating systems are so old that they can't support the site!  The tech department can encourage people all they like, but when our own school computers can't support the features of the website, it's not going to be used.  Furthermore, it's incredibly frustrating for those of us who really want to use it!  Ok, enough ranting, but my point is, this happens all the time when technology meets education.  Teachers are expected to keep up with the latest developments, prepare students for a tech-savvy future, and use technology highly effectively in their classrooms - which is awfully hard to do when the only technology you have available is a set of 30 laptops that the whole school shares and you get to use them every other week for 45 minutes at a time.  On top of that, our students will apparently be taking their PARCC assessments on the computer in two years' time, but with only 30 computers for the whole school, how will that even happen?  Unfortunately, I don't have many answers, but I hope that districts realize they must invest in technology and keep it updated for teachers to effectively use it.  This mismatch of expectations and reality will cost us dearly going forward.  Anyone else out there face this problem?  How do you handle it? Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

OLW February: Moving Quickly

Ok, yes, this is a few days late.  But in my defense, our house has been swamped by the plague in the past 10 days.  Our little family of three has been diagnosed with varying combos of croup, ear infections, pinkeye, and strep throat in the past week and a half!  Throw in two nights of parent conferences, and well..I'm two days behind.  But it really got me thinking how time has been moving so quickly at this point in the school year.  It's the time of year where everyone feels the crunch, the push to get curriculum topics in before testing, to catch up with the pacing you're already behind, to follow up with the special plans you've put in place for kiddos.  It's a busy time for teachers, and I'm feeling the crunch too.  With just two weeks until our first round of tests, I know I haven't taught all the topics they will be tested on.  It's frustrating to have kids tested on topics they are meant to learn throughout the year, at just past the midpoint of the year!  I'm feeling the need to move as quickly as possible, but I do not want to sacrifice understanding for testing pressure.  So, I'm trying to strike a balance and stay the course, reminding myself that this happens every year and we all survive.  In moving forward though, I look forward to spring, getting out from under the weight of winter and moving on with my class.  In the meantime, we will keep moving forward as best we can!