Monday, May 23, 2011

Moving Forward

Last week, the Technology and Media team said goodbye to one of its valued members. Our Network Administrator, Dan Verwolf, accepted an opportunity at another institution and will no longer be working for Godfrey-Lee Public Schools. This is certainly a bittersweet ending to the week as we say farewell to our friend, yet we know that he is moving on to another level of his career. We are extremely happy for Dan and his family as they make this transition.

Working alongside Dan has been a rewarding experience for me, through the years we have shared many conversations that I will remember for a lifetime. He has openly shared his knowledge with me and I am grateful for that today. Even through our disagreements I feel that my beliefs and ideals have strengthened because of him. Dan’s creativity and innovative thinking has been a contributing factor in the growth of Godfrey-Lee’s Technology program and the success that has come from it. We were blessed to have him as a part of our team and he will be truly missed.

With that being said, we must continue to move forward providing quality support for the Godfrey-Lee School District and its stakeholders. We are determined to deliver a level of continuity for our staff and students as we come to the end of a tumultuous school year. We know that none of us are perfect; we all fall short sometimes. However, we are willing to strengthen the areas in which we are weak, embrace our failures and use them to take us higher. In a time where K-12 education is fighting to stay afloat, teachers and students need support more than ever. Our Jobs go beyond providing technology support. We must let our teachers know that we support them in every way.

The Godfrey-Lee Technology and Media Team is ready to go above and beyond expectations. We are ready to be more than a voice on the other end of the phone. We are ready to stand on the front-lines and prove that Godfrey-Lee is a community worth fighting for, because our kids are worth fighting for. We have some of the best students in West Michigan because we have some of the best Educators in West Michigan. Standing together, there is nothing we can’t do.

Here’s to a new frontier.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Student Views on Technology in the Classroom

As the end of the school year is upon us, I decided to send out a survey to students asking their thoughts about using technology as a tool in the classroom and their preferred learning habits. The survey was sent via e-mail to all 6-12 students and 66 students responded to the survey over a week's time period. Some of the responses were what I expected to see, but others were a bit surprising. Some of the questions and responses collected are listed below.

Most of the time I enjoy participating in class.

I enjoy working with classmates on class assignments.

I enjoy applying things I learned in class to real-life problems.

I like thinking about problems with no obvious "right" answer.

I like using technology to help me learn.

I like looking for answers to problems instead of my teacher giving me the answer.

I feel comfortable asking my teacher if I can complete an assignment a little bit differently.

I also asked the students several open-ended questions about the online resources they use to complete their work and how using online resources has changed the way they do their work. The students provided honest answers and I was surprised that outside of our district's web portal, the main resource they used was Google. The students use Google to not only search engine for information, but also as a way to be directed to specific web sites. This proves the necessity for information literacy to be an integrated component of content instruction.

The question that provided the most interesting information was that of, "If you could give your teachers a message about using technology in the classroom, what would it be?". Some of the responses included:
  • "I would tell them to let us use computers and laptops more so we can study."
  • "Make everything on the computer."
  • "Let us use computers more to take notes rather than hand writing them."
  • "This Is The Message I'd Give Them: Dear Teachers, Using netbooks in class helps us very much so I think you guys should let us use them more."
  • "To put more assignments on the computer."
  • "To allow us to use it to our advantage. "
  • "To let us use our phones."
What does this say about our students and their thoughts on their learning? The biggest thing that speaks to me is that they want to have a voice. The students had no problem sharing ways that would help them learn in a manner that is more efficient and effective for them. The responses varied based on individual student learning preferences, and not everyone was in favor of using technology (one student responded with, "I HATE using computers they separate the connection and help a teacher gives."). This statement alone speaks to the important role that teachers will always play in the learning process, regardless of the technology used and how often it is used.

While reading the responses of this survey, what I enjoyed most was reading the honest responses from students. The evaluation piece of implementing technology in the classroom is critical, but is some times overlooked in lesson planning and implementation. If you are using technology in your classroom, how do you use student feedback to guide your re-teaching or future instruction?


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