Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Step One in Integration of Technology

The New Year 5770 brings with it the excitement of new pursuits. The “big buzz for 5770” is in the integration of technology into the various subject areas in the three (3) Jewish day schools in Boca Raton Florida.

An eleven (11) step process has been outlined in advancing the integration of technology into the classroom. Step A in our first step had the teachers take an online survey where they assessed their knowledge of technology and what their individual needs are. The survey was sent to Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle and High School teachers. Step B will be the “Shared” Technology Integration Specialist visiting the classrooms to get a more in-depth appreciative understanding of how technology is impacting the classroom.

Survey results: Why use technology in the classroom?

A number of teacher motivations:

1. Desire to address various learning styles.
2. Belief that students will benefit from exposure.
3. Provide access to resources beyond the school.
4. Ability to increase students’ access to course material.
5. Ability to manage administrative tasks more effectively.
6. Availability of classroom equipment.
7. Encouragement from students.
8. Ability to facilitate communication with students.
9. Reliability of technology at the school.
10. Inspiration from peers.

Some student motivations:

1. Engaging students in learning activities using technology that require them to analyze information, think creatively, make predications and draw conclusions.
2. Students can showcase their learning using technology rather than traditional paper reports.

We welcome feedback on our quest

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The bigger conversation

Confident in the knowledge that this grant has created the opportunity for us to reshape the future of our schools and possibly the entire community, I decided that in addition to the strong task force that was appointed, we needed the insight of people who had been through many years and many businesses models. Seven people were asked to spend 90 minutes on an August afternoon sharing their thoughts about our future; all agreed to participate even from out of town. Only two of them had any direct contact with the schools, all others where either supporters of other day schools or had spoken openly about their lack of support for day school education. They came to the meeting because it was intriguing to be asked their business opinions for application to the Jewish community, because they like each other, and because our family has built up enough social capital to ask for this kind of attention. My goal was not only to listen to their thoughts but to test the idea that people who are asked to share their expertise without being asked for anything else are happy to do so. We so rarely ask people who are extremely successful to really think about challenges in our Jewish community they way they think about their business challenges. The meeting was very successful and they voluntarily asked to be kept apprised of our progress. Additionally, I am confident they would participate again for other similar challenges because they had a great time sharing their thought with each other. I plan on doing so to address the high cost of tuition next time.