Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Podcasting School Board Meetings July 26, 2006

Filed under: education,school board,technology,tracyweeks,Web 2.0 — tweeks @ 3:18 pm

This week, our district has officially begun podcasting the school board meetings. Because the meetings are so long, the sections had to be broken out into separate podcasts, but bit by bit, the entire meeting is there. This is a big step in the direction of becoming School District 2.0! So, how did we make this happen? There were really two catalysts towards this change:

  1. One of our school board members asked if it was possible. It is always good when one of the key players is the one asking for the change 🙂
  2. Our district held a Web 2.0 workshop with David Warlick to begin to learn how to go about the business of podcasting.

This meant that we had both the desire and the knowledge to make it happen, we purchased the equipment and with very little work – we did it!


Getting Administrators Excited about Web 2.0 July 20, 2006

I just read David Warlick’s article about Flat Classrooms in a Flattening World. What an exciting way to get district and school administrators educated about Web 2.0 and to get them talking about how to use these tools in their schools! I am going to share this idea with our district leaders and try to do something similar. Of course, this is where it gets tricky. I have to find a way to get my peers as excited about spending time and resources on this professional development as I am.

I am convinced that if we are to become a District 2.0, I have to start with the administrators and help these Digital Immigrants (myself included) get to the point where using Web 2.0 resources becomes the natural and logical solution to many problems. If they can model using these collaborative tools in their daily work, presentations, and meetings, teachers will ask questions and some will begin to follow. Like our students, we need to help our educators become immersed in the Web 2.0 universe so that they can begin to better understand how to help our students learn in the world in which they will one day work.


What does School District 2.0 Look Like? July 19, 2006

In an effort to expand the use of Web 2.0 technology within our school district so that, as a district, we become School District 2.0, I feel like I need to think about what this would look like. What would students be doing? Teachers? Administrators? Below are my first thoughts. Let me know what other things you come up with.

Students will:

  • critically consume information on the Internet
  • create information on the Internet
  • regularly publish well-thought written products for a global audience
  • comment on other published online writings
  • collaborate on projects on the Internet
  • practice safe and ethical online behaviors

Teachers will:

  • create online projects which require students to collaborate online with one another on authentic problems which require critical thinking skills
  • read and comment on student’s online published works
  • use an aggregator to subscribe to RSS feeds in their content area
  • collaborate online with curriculum area specialists
  • collaborate online with their peers and professional learning community members

Administrators will:

  • use an aggregator to subscribe to RSS feeds in their content area
  • use web 2.0 tools to collaborate with each other across the district and with peers across the state/country
  • create and regularly contribute to a blog, reflecting on their area of focus

Digital Immigrants 2.0 July 11, 2006

Last month, David Warlick kicked off a workshop for a group of our teachers and a couple of administrators on the use of Web 2.0 (blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc) in the classroom. Over the past two years we have had the occasional teacher use blogs with their students, but I am hoping to see a more prolific use of Web 2.0 in our schools in the coming year.

As I reflect on how to make this happen, it occurs to me that in order to get our teachers to a place where they feel comfortable using Web 2.0 in their classroom, they need to first become immersed in this new read/write web themselves. They need to become bloggers. They need to be a part of a group that develops a wiki for some specific and authentic purpose. They need to subscribe to RSS feeds. They need to listen to podcasts that are relevant to their area. How do I help these digital immigrants use these new resources as a part of their own personal learning network so that they become so comfortable with it that they will then use the resources with their students?

(OK, so the term “digital immigrants” is likely one of the most worn out terms at ed tech conferences, but the concept behind the term still holds water and adequately captures the nature of my struggle with getting the use of Web 2.0 up and really running in our school district.)

Here are my first thoughts on what I can do to facilitate this experience for these digital 2.0 immigrants:

  1. Focus time and training on the district level administrators, especially the curriculum area coordinators. Get the district administrators to commit to:

    • Subscribe to RSS feeds

    • Blog about their area of focus and ask their teachers to read and comment on their blog

    • Use web 2.0 for their meetings (see below)

  2. Use web 2.0 resources to facilitate district and school level meetings. For example:

    • create a wiki for recording the minutes of the meeting

    • audio record the meetings and publish them as podcasts

  3. Help school administrators set up wikis and blogs for use with their faculties

Stay tuned as I blog about my mission to upgrade our district to District 2.0!