Thursday, 1 March 2012

things are broken

Creating a strategic plan
The school I am at last year went through a Core Ed IT Review, this was to help the school plan for the next five years, while for some of us that turn up at the Professional development, are following twitter and Virtual learning Network are up with the play, there is a large amount of people that are just doing the bare minimum. Yes it is nice to have Ultra Fast Broadbast, the School Network Upgrade Project happening, it is how you use it, do we look at a BYOD programme, what do we need to run a BYOD programme in the school. A lot of people look at the infrastructure needed, but I think its more than that. I think its the community, staff and students needing to have a conversation about learning. I am sorry to say that teaching and learning has changed from when the parents of these students went to school, that the Grandparents on the Board of Trustees that come in and sit in the same seats in the same room that they were taught in the 1960’s that Teaching and Learning has changed, and we as a school need to keep up with the changes. Ok, Tradition does have an impact on our school, and I am not wanting to remove that, however, the traditions that we have can be built on and improved. We talk about excellence and high standards with our students, then why does the introduction of technology in ones teaching and learning seem to make people think that the grades will not come out of it. I love listening to Derek Wenmoth talk about the work that he has been doing. If a teacher is only looking at technology as the answer to everything they are looking at it wrong, they need to include the pedagogically driven decisions to make it work.

Three days later.
The strategic plan has just been thrown out the window and all roads lead to a fun and exciting time, even though some people at school don’t think so and are upset at the decisions that have been made. We have been under a bit of stress at present around school as the closure of classrooms due to buildings not meeting code. Getting the school started was the priority of the board and marquees and changes to other spaces to replace 6 classrooms were needed. However these were a short term measure, the time has come for changes to happen, as the days get colder and the wind picks up these marquees are becoming unsuitable for human cohabitation. So the senior leadership made the decision to look at how we are using the spaces in the school. The original idea was to remove all the computers out of the library computer space, though this leads to some interesting things happening, we lose one of the most valuable spaces in the school. I believe that libraries are almost like our chapel at school. they are a place of learning and research, and should be a place where students come together to gather information, analyze it and communicate there findings. It is an English teachers second home. The space currently has 28 computers in it and has been upgraded in its cabling. The space right beside it will be for the Video Conferencing equipment. The space also has glass around three walls, this would seem like you are teaching in a goldfish bowl.

We have another space at school, The 3rd Computer Suite, this is a space that is a converted classroom only 3 years ago. This classroom was designed and built by one of the current staff at the school. The computers in it are a good quality and the room is heavily booked. However, the core ed document and current discussions are that computer labs will be a thing of the past in a few years time. As BYOD comes in and netbook classes are developed these rooms will no longer exist. The suggestion was to look at netbooks now, this is 12 months ahead of where we were looking at. The installation of wireless also needs to happen to take advantage of the opportunity as well. This is huge financial hit for the college, however it is also a saving as well. With the cost of the marquees taking a good hit of the college funds and no idea if the costs will be meet by insurance companies as the buildings have been taken out as they don’t meet code, not earthquake damage, although there is damage been done, it may not mean that the building is unsafe. It is a catch 22 situation. With the marquees gone and the changes of space until other decisions have been made we get to advance on the path towards BYOD. The netbooks will be setup the same as our computer labs, same software and access to resources, though they will need there SSID as they will require access to the entire network. The same setup as the teachers will require. It also means that we can get teachers trying out different things, they can experience and develop their teaching to make use of the BYOD devices when they come into school. They can try out layouts in the class, work through blended learning. This all requires some form of PD, though we are currently writing a document for some assistance towards this as the ICT group see this as of greatest need. We are reviewing our core ed document and items that we were developing for terms 3 and 4 and now going to have to be pushed up to terms one and two.

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