Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Looking forward

As many of you know, the high school recently celebrated the honor of being named the first Apple Distinguished School in Iowa.  Although this is a noteworthy accomplishment, it is only valuable if it continues to motivate us to work harder to provide the best quality education for Newell-Fonda CSD students.  This brings me to the question, what does the "best quality education" look like?  Our teachers have spent the first part of this school year exploring this question by reading and discussing The Global Achievement Gap.  However, at some point these discussions and beliefs have to be put to the test in the classroom and for many of us that means changing the way we have always done things.
     I recently read a blog post written by Nick Sauers that really made me think.  In the beginning stages of our 1:1 laptop initiative, it was OK to experiment and use technology for the sake of using technology.  And although I'm certainly not saying we do not need to continue to experiment with technology in our classrooms, as educators we need to start using a "purposeful" approach to technology integration.  One way our teachers can do this is by answering some simple questions during their lesson planning.  Does this technology being used in my lesson advance student learning?  Does the use of technology in my lesson give my students a deeper understanding of the content?  Are my students using the technology to problem solve or collaborate?  Can I easily explain the benefit the technology brings to my lesson?  Overall, I think Nick Sauers said it best, "Technology must be used as a tool to enhance learning.  When used appropriately, that tool will drastically change teaching rather than just doing the same thing in a flashy new way."  This is our challenge for the future!!!

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