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Great Week of Professional Development

I feel so fortunate to work in a district that embraces growth and change! We are frequently provided with opportunities to attend workshops to up our game!  This week I spent four mornings at La Costa Canyon High School under the leadership of Kevin Fairchild, one of our Teachers on Special Assignment for Technology in the Classroom.  It was so invigorating to be surrounded by educators who are so dedicated and excited about what they do. I learned so much from my colleagues and can't wait to implement the tools I was shown!

I have been a teacher for over twenty years, and I truly believe that this is the most exciting time in education. There are so many new ways of doing things.  Students are much more hands on than in years past and are given more freedom to be creative and take risks.

When I was in high school:
Of course nobody actually OWNED a cell phone in 1983!

1) There were no cell phones (well, maybe in a movie, but they required a large suitcase).  In fact, I had a rotary dial phone through high school with NO call waiting (my parents were NOT cool).
2)  I didn't own a typewriter. However, I received an electric typewriter for graduation which I used through college.
3)  There were no computers at home.
4)  There was no social media (I slipped notes to my friends and actually spoke to them)
5)  Grades were somewhat of a mystery until report cards
6)  Homework and assignments were only available at school
7) I took my film to Fotomat and waited excitedly for several days for my pictures (usually about three out of twenty-four pictures were worthy of an album)
8) Our family television got three channels and required getting up off the sofa to change the channel.
Always wondered what the second big knob was for. Never did anything when I turned it!

9) I would have to purchase an entire album just to listen to two songs I liked (Anyone remember Alda Nova's song "Fantasy" or Haircut 100s "Love Plus One"? Or, remember fast forwarding a cassette tape trying to "find" the song you liked?).
Great cassette right here!

10) Family road trips were always good for a squabble between my parents as my mom tried to look at a map that took up the entire passenger's seat and explain to my dad where to turn.  We had no GPS (or handheld devices to help us tune out the arguing).

You get the idea!


School was pretty boring.  We sat in desks, faced the front, and listened to the teacher for most of the period.  Sometimes we copied notes off a chalkboard.  Sometimes we watched a film (or slept through it). Sometimes we got to take turns reading a story or novel. It was all so passive. Talking was pretty much forbidden.  Yes, I learned some things, but I can't say that I was engaged or excited.  It was easy to "hide" in the classroom and not be required to participate.

With technology, all students can become active learners.  All students can participate in a discussion. All students can work collaboratively (and even remotely) to complete a task.  For example, last year I used Schoology to post a question to my students. ALL students were required to type in their response to the question.  However, they could not see what others said UNTIL they had written their own response.  Once they submitted their response, they could read other students' responses.  They then had to respond to two other responses. Everyone participated, everyone was "heard", and student responses were validated by their peers! Plus, I could read ALL of their responses at the end.

Students can also be offered different ways of showing their mastery of a topic.  For example, they can create a movie, a poster in Piktochart, a youtube video, a Prezi, a Powtoon, and SO much more.

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the "new" technology out there.  I have the tendency to want to do it all! However, I think it's best to try two or three things each year and try to master them.  This year I will be trying Zaption and Scribd (okay, maybe something else too).  Zaption will allow me to take a youtube video and insert questions into the clip for my students to answer as they watch.  They will type in their responses, and I will be able to view them! I will use their responses as a formative assessment, allowing me to reteach those who didn't quite get it!  Scribd will allow me to create online publications of student writing for all to enjoy!  I can't wait to try that!

Although my students seem to enjoy my class, I truly think I enjoy it more; I knew what school was like in the old days!

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