By Lori Menger, Reading Teacher
Charting the Plan
Considering all the above factors a plan for the coming year was developed. The design team included two teachers, the principal, and the vice principal. It was decided the weekly computer and drama classes would be discontinued, and the time would be commandeered for academic instruction. Technology and drama would occur by integration into instruction in the content area. The drama teacher and a computer teacher positions would be deleted and new positions created for a technology integration facilitator (TIF) and a drama coach. The TIF and the drama coach would meet with each grade level once per week, during planning, to help design integrated lessons and projects. Classroom teachers would carry out the lessons with assistance from the TIF and drama coach, and most importantly be a part of this learning process. Focusing on projects that integrate technology and drama would take a constructivist approach, and be a more authentic method of instruction.
Computer classes had been in a lab equipped with 25 desktop computers. Since weekly computer classes were being discontinued, the lab would be renamed Tech Connect, and teachers could book the lab using an online reservation system. Other equipment needed such as the mobile laptop cart (with 23 laptops), MP3 players, digital cameras, projectors, etc. would be available for check out from Tech Connect. Each teacher would be provided with one networked, internet accessible desktop computer and a digital camera in the classroom.
To address various levels of comfort and skill with technology by the teachers, professional development would be provided on a monthly basis and technology support on an as needed basis. With this in mind, it was decided one TIF position would not be adequate and a part-time TIF position was added to the plan. Professional development would also be provided on how to incorporate drama into literacy instruction. The drama coach would assist with classroom instruction when needed and work with the students. Teachers would be required to at least attend two professional development trainings per year and implement one skill learned in a professional development workshop into instruction. A network administrator position was already in place and would continue to keep the hardware running and additionally be responsible for GradeQuick, the schoolâ€™s grading software.
Each teacher would be required to create and maintain a classroom blog. Prior to this there was only a school website, where each teacher had a page. Content had to be sent to the webmaster to be uploaded via FTP (file transfer protocol). Blogs would allow teachers to post at their convenience. The interactive part of having students respond to posts would not be implemented until the second year of the plan.
A professional development blog was created and teachers that attended workshops or training would be encouraged to make a post to the professional development blog with an overview of what they had learned. Teachers would be encouraged to respond to at least one professional development post. The plan was projected to take three years to fully implement and it was acknowledged that fair weather and stormy seas would be encountered. This would necessitate that at the end of each school year, the anchor would be placed, and reflection would occur to assure the plan was on course and determine if the course needed to be altered.
Continue reading Part III: Smooth Sailing