Sunday, October 26, 2008

Edutopia Video Review

Mary Scroggs Elementary School: A Wired Education -

This video touched a personal place in my heart – being an elementary teacher. The students broadcast the morning announcements every day. Students from all grade levels are permitted to try out and participate. The 5th grade students are the ‘film crew’ and stage crew. Each classroom has 4-5 computers for student use. The school also has several wireless laptop carts for student/classroom use. They use students that have more experience using computers as tutors to those students that do not have as much experience. They allow students that are low socio-economic to be able to have a computer to use at home and help them to have low fees for internet access. Each teacher has their own office and telephone. The video states that the teachers feel more like professionals because they have this for their use. They also use this to have more effective parent communication.

As an elementary teacher that has access to only one computer in my classroom and no mobile laptop cart, this sounds like a dream. Several years ago I was fortunate enough to be in a district that had a tremendous amount of technology available – wireless laptop carts, Alphasmarts, and Danas just to name a few! I wish I had known then what I know now about technology integration! I only wish I had an ‘inth’ of this to work with now. I am lucky in that I do have a data projector, a document camera, and a desktop computer. I realize that some teachers do not have this much to work with. My class starts a biweekly ‘required’ rotation in the computer lab this Friday. I can’t wait until we complete the ‘required’ activities and I can start using some of my own ideas in technology with my students. The downside of this is that they may only get to go every two weeks. I think to myself, what can I accomplish going only once every two weeks? I guess this is better than no lab time at all.

The only negative I can think of that might possibly be affected by having this much opportunity for technology use and integration is test scores. Will they be affected? I want to believe that scores would only increase with the types of project learning that generally goes with technology integration. The highest hurdle to overcome would be to convince administration and board members that this would be an effective way of teaching the whole student and not just teaching how to pass a test.