Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tech.Coor. Chap. 6 Budget and Planning

It was interesting to get the 'take' on the Tech. Coor.'s responsibilities. I feel that my district employs the concept that 'simply placing (minimal) technology tools in the classroom leads to exciting results and improved student learning' as stated on pg. 125. I have one desktop computer that I am the primary user of because it has access to my grade book and student records. I have one laptop that I let students use and they primarily use it to take Accelerated Reader tests on. I also use it in class as tool such that we 'journaled' science notes during class. When we were doing class research, students took turns using it as well as my desktop in a pinch to find out information about their topic. I have a projector and document camera in order to project images on the wall. That is the limit of the technology that has been assigned to me in my classroom. I also feel that my district lacks not only valuable but ongoing staff development. I am sure the service center offers some technology courses but when you teach a grade that has TAKS, you cannot afford too many days away from your students. The days you can afford are usually for training in your subject area. I am not sure if this is just lack of insight on the administrations part or lack of funds. There may also be a lack of interest in different types of technology. There are many very experienced teachers that just have not jumped on the technology train yet. I think I will plan on trying to find out what the technology budget at my district and my school looks like in the very near future.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Tech High

This would be an awesome place to go to high school! A one-to-one ratio of computers to students? At the high school I attended (way back in the 80's), the teachers did not have a desktop in the classroom. I used a typewriter to type the articles for the annual. We had to manually crop pictures with a cropping tool and a grease pencil, set up layouts by hand, you get the picture! Or maybe not, if you have only known software that does all that for you. I vaguely remember taking a BASIC programming class my senior year but that the only option we had. I checked out the application for admission. I liked the essay prompt about the time machine and what you imagine you might be doing in 10 years and how you got there. I would love to read the responses to that one! I really see very few similarities and very many differences. Technology has made major leaps and bounds in the past 20 years! Where might we be in 20 more? I can't wait to experience it.

Tech. Coordinator Chapter 2, Teaching and Learning

It was interesting to read about the different functions of a technology coordinator. I saw some similarities with the way my district runs things and some great ideas as well. Our district utilizes technology training district wide during the first week of inservices right before school starts. This year we got to choose six sessions out of about 12 potential. We actually had some interesting things to choose from that I felt were more appropriate for classroom integration. In the past, there have been sessions that I attended where I walked away feeling that I got nothing out of it because I did not learn anything new. Last year the entire district was required to attend a session about new web pages and we did not even start using the program until February. We had to re-learn what we had forgotten from August.
At the Elem. campus, we have grade level teachers that are responsible for making sure their fellow grade level members keep the updates regular and virus scans run on the classroom computers. The 'tech' person on our campus is the teacher that runs the computer lab. Each student has 30 minutes of computer time at least 3 days a week. They use a reading, math, and typing program on a rotating basis. This teacher has not had any experience teaching in 'regular' classroom.
Our district coordinator is housed at the high school campus and I sometimes feel that things that are planned are geared more towards upper level instead of elementary level. She has had classroom experience at the high school level.
I also can understand where a database of educational software might be extremely helpful to teachers and administrators in choosing the right software. I am not aware that my district has this.
Overall, I guess my district does the best they can considering we are a small district without any major industry to increase our tax base. We are trying to improve and I see little things here and there and teachers that are trying to do things as well.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Web Mastering - Ch 3-6

WOW! That's how this blog must begin. The process of creating a web page is really cool. I just wish I had endless hours to play with it and get to know the software better. Maybe someday soon! There are so many little things that are involved in creating a good page that you never even think of. Here are some specific examples from each chapter that made me think:
Ch. 3
Indent - who thought a simple move away from the edge would be that noticeable?
Background colors - Once I finally found the command to do this, I tried several different backgrounds before I settled on one.
Links - I learned that it is VERY important to know what kind of link you are trying to create.
Layers - They can really make your project interesting.
Ch. 4
Absolutely the most important thing is being organized and naming things correctly. Folders are important for placing your files and images in and not changing the names or your links will not work.
Ch. 5
The difference between print and web was very interesting. The concepts seem to be the opposite of what you think. However, if you actually think about it, it makes sense.
Ch. 6
I never thought that alignment could make such a big difference. I do, however, disagree with one of the examples in the book - pg. 115. I prefer the look of the top page rather than the bottom. To me, that one looks more appealing. This entire chapter is a prime example of how things we think are trivial when just reading about them really have quite an impact on the page when you look at good/bad examples. Repetition, contrast, paragraph vs. break; all of these, when used correctly, make your page look so much more professional.

I have never thought that much about how web pages are made. I have just taken the process for granted. The basic process, when using the Dreamweaver software, that is, is not as complicated as I originally thought it might be. The most frustrating thing is that I am not familiar with the commands and the package as whole. In time, as well as with lots of trial and error, I just might be able to build a nice web page that at least my friends and family will enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Technology Coordinator

I think that a Technology Coordinator at the district level and the campus level are very similar. Basically, the major difference is that a campus coordinator is assigned to that campus and the needs of that campus specifically. They would 'answer' to the district coordinator. The district coordinator is responsible all technology aspects of the entire district, all campuses as well as administration. In a large district, he/she would supervise campus coordinators, technicians, network administrators, etc.

Monday, July 21, 2008

November Learning

Unfortunately I was unable to watch the entire video presentation of Alan November's. However, what I was able to get through, was very exciting. This was due to computer difficulties, not lack of interest in the speaker or the subject! I so want to be able to watch and listen to it in it's entirety because he has so very many wonderful ideas. It was not a shock that the answers to the questions near the beginning of the presentation were what they were. Sometimes we do feel as though our hands are tied and we cannot do some of the things we want to do or teach our children things they need to know because of restraints our school districts have placed on the Internet. His presentation was enlightening as well as disheartening. Our children have so much opportunity yet they are still far behind some other students with far less than they have.