Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How Can We Help You?

How Can We Help You??

Last week, Eric Sheninger came through Moore County for a very brief visit but his message is something that has stuck.  Sheninger is an award winning educator and author that is passionate about digital leadership and learning.  He was an administrator in New Jersey that totally transformed his school and student performance with the transition to digital learning.  The key for his success was that technology was used in relevant ways and his teachers had to provide evidence that it was impacting learning.

In Moore County, we have an opportunity to do so much, and the ability to integrate technology into classrooms in ways that can impact student learning at every grade level. Our ultimate goal needs to be to refine classroom instruction by changing the way we think about learning and teaching.  Today’s students don’t learn the same way we adults did as students.  They learn best through project based learning, collaboration, and media.  

Project based learning is a type of learning made up of rigorous projects that are infused throughout with technology. This can transfer into any content or curriculum area and you are only limited by your imagination.  Aren’t 1:1 yet? No problem, the DIF team can help you figure out a way to make it work.  Sometimes we can take a project you have done in the past and tweak it a little bit to make it engaging and meaningful for the student.  The goal is that the content is supported by the technology, not the other way around. In the world we live in today, students like instant feedback, it happens all the time on social media.  They also like to collaborate with their peers. One of the ways they could do that is in collaborative groups as they take part in one of the STEM Projects that takes them through the Engineering and Design Process. Another way students can collaborate and get their voices heard is through blogging. Students love to be creators of media through blogging, music, or videos.  When they become creators instead of consumers, they take ownership and growth can occur.  These types of projects can be seen all over MCS: students are creating newscasts, mini movies, and commercials.

Time for a self assessment:
Edutopia Blogger, Mary Beth Hertz, defines 4 levels  of classroom technology integration in her blog “What Does ‘Technology Integration’ Mean” https://goo.gl/7Ypgt:

  1. Sparse: Technology is rarely used or available. Students rarely use technology to complete assignments or projects.
  2. Basic: Technology is used or available occasionally/often in a lab rather than a classroom.  Students are comfortable with one or two tools and sometimes use these tools to create projects that show understanding of the content.
  3. Comfortable: Technology is used in the classroom on a fairly regular basis. Students are comfortable with a variety of tools and often use these tools to create projects that show understanding of content.
  4. Seamless: Students employ technology daily in the classroom using a variety of tools to complete assignments and create projects that show a deep understanding of the content.  

My question for you, is what level are you, and how can a DIF get you to the next level?

This summer the DIF team grew! We added more elementary DIFs so that every school could have ‘more hands on deck’ and more opportunities would be available to integrate tech into classrooms.  Our team of now twelve DIFs, are all former classroom teachers that want to help current teachers find ways to engage students and promote digital integration into the curriculum.  Just reach out to us whenever you need support with digital tools in your classroom.  Unsure of who your DIF is? Click HERE.

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