When I started teaching five years ago, I had no idea what kind of journey awaited. Coming from a family of educators, I had some pretty strong perceptions of education. Then along came some pretty tremendous opportunities that have helped me reshape my ideas about what education can (and I would suggest MUST) become about in our schools and society.
Two years ago our school was chosen as one of six (and we were by far the largest) schools in the province to pilot a 1:1 laptop research project. We had over 800 students from Grades 6-8. Unfortunately, the program would be limited to just two classes (60 students) in Grade 7. The fortunate part was that I was asked to be one of the two teachers involved from the beginning.
Beginning this year every Grade 7 and 8 student (over 550 of them!) at Nashwaaksis Middle School has been given a laptop. What a challenge for our school! What an opportunity for me – the week before school started I was offered the position of Technology Mentor! The job? -to help teachers and students figure out how to use these darn things in the best way possible…
I am lucky to have been able to hear David Warlick this summer at the Laptop Institute in Memphis. Until that time, my vision for 1:1 and technology in general was basically around digitizing what we did previously – which in itself carries many benefits including efficiency and clarity – but it was only after hearing David speak that I began to understand the REAL potential. It wasn’t about the technology at all! WOW!
One of my goals for this year is to seed conversations that will help our school begin to develop a collective vision and, if we are lucky, start a “new story” about education in our school. We have over 30 teachers now working directly with 1:1 students. Most are excited, some a bit reluctant, but we all are just starting on a very exciting journey – together!
This blog will serve as a record of my observations, comments, and just plain musings about that journey. It is inspired by the K-12 Online conference and David Warlick’s opening keynote. I am choosing to immigrate and join the conversation.