Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Literacy Foundations, Digital Portfolios and a Not-So-Boring Board Meeting

Wow – last night’s Board of Ed meeting was exciting…
I know that sounds strange -- usually that is NOT the case, but great things are happening in my town. I attended this particular meeting wearing the hat of the high school technology teacher with a specific mission in mind, but I couldn’t help but sit quietly holding my parent and IT Leader hat in my lap as well.

The meeting began with public comments regarding the cutting of all elementary school computer para-professionals due to budget concerns, and the floor was flooded. Students, parents, teachers and para-professionals all stood up to tout the importance of technology in our schools! YES - This is what I’ve been waiting for! It’s what I’ve been fighting for since I began teaching 8 years ago. I left this district, just as I received tenure, in order to work in a place that embraced technology and seemed to be moving in the right direction. I had tried, and failed, to have any influence here. As a parent in the same town, I continued to advocate, but as a teacher I wanted to learn and grow with technology integration, so I had to leave. This was a big step.

The real reason for my attendance at this meeting is the big news…
I am now back teaching in my home town at the high school and I have been extremely fortunate to be working with a great team of teachers and staff -- specifically, the media specialists and teachers who have passion for what they do and the desire to do more for their students. A literacy team was formed and they began developing the idea for a new foundation course for all freshman. This course will teach a variety of literacy skills that will set these students up for success throughout their lives. Along with study skills, non-fiction reading strategies, literature circles and the research process, the students will learn important technology skills while creating a digital portfolio using Google Apps. This will allow them to reflect on and share their work throughout their high school career while learning important 21st Century skills such as collaboration, communication, creation and reflection. When I was asked to be on the team I was thrilled. I am energized by the fact that the team was interested in integrating technology and wanted me to help write the curriculum with that in mind. NOW we are getting somewhere!!

After many hours of meeting, curriculum writing and fighting for the ideals of the course, the team was successful at persuading the Board of Ed to vote the course into the curriculum. I will help to write the technology lesson components and co-teach with the literacy teachers that are involved. I can’t wait!

Here are some resources that I will be using to help with the planning and implementation:


Cyber Citizenship:

Digital Portfolios:

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