Sunday, June 28, 2009

Technology Boot Camp

It is hard to believe that another school year is over. However, unlike the start of many summers, I spent the first two weeks at school. Between participating in our school's technology camp and helping interview candidates for the high school librarian position, my summer vacation was "postponed" for a little over a week. I cannot say anything about the interviews. However, it was an interesting process to be a part of and deciding upon the best candidate for the job is not always an easy task. The technology camp was an exciting endeavor initiated by our two wonderful technology coaches. I like to think of it as a "boot camp" for many of our teachers. It gave them an initiation into the world technology and its uses in the classroom. I think many of them caught the technology bug!

This year our high school participated in the Classrooms for the Future grant. With this grant, the high school hired a classrooms for the future (CFF) coach. The success of the high school caused my superintendent to want to bring on a coach for the middle and elementary schools. Much of what a CFF coach does mirrors and/or supports what librarians do. I was lucky enough to work with two excellent technology coaches, who were always willing to work with me and share ideas. So, I was thrilled when they recruited me to help them with two of the days in the technology camp.

I led a day training teachers how to use Interwrite Pads. I absolutely love my Interwrite pad. Interwrite Pads provide all the functionality of a SmartBoard or a Promethean Board, however, they are mobile. I (and my students) can annotate websites, interact with Word documents, control the computer, and much more from anywhere in the room. Here is the wiki I created for the teachers using Interwrite Pads.

The second day, I led the instruction on podcasting. The teachers used Audacity to create a short podcast. We also talked about how podcasting could be used with students and how to display the students' finished products. This led into further discussion about glogster and nings which led to discussion on all things Web 2.0. I showed them my Web2HowTo wiki and encouraged them to sign up for all the technology camp sessions if they had not already.

The general technology comfort level of the teachers who participated was low. However, they were all open to and excited about learning. As the teachers finished the podcasting session, I left them with a short video that I found on YouTube. I think many of them could identify with the video and it gave them a few laughs.

The technology camp created a forum for teachers to be introduced to, play with, and think about technology and its uses in the classroom. It gave me a forum to interact with many of my teachers at once and discuss new projects to implement with their students using the technologies to which they were introduced. I give a lot of credit to our two technology coaches for initiating, planning, and conducting such a successful camp. I would love to create a "Help Desk" night once a month to build upon this initiative. The idea of after-school sessions for teachers was planted by Kim Corfino's insightful post on PD sessions. To implement a "Help Desk" night once a month would be a great way to provide teachers with the continued support and instruction they will need.

Boots photo used under Creative Commons license from