a whole new day

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Tuesday was the first day that I realized that I really do have a new job now and a new way of looking at the world of education. Tuesday was the first day that I did not set foot in the high school but I was on school property. I was at work, as an Instructional Technology Specialist, not as a French teacher or even a CFF Coach. I must admit that it was bizarre but a great day!

As I enter the world of Central Administration and exit the world of Wissahickon High School I am beginning to notice and learn many new things. Life is different across the street and working primarily with adults is proving to be an interesting but enriching adventure. I am no longer in the world of bell schedules, discipline codes, lateness policies, and crowded hallways. Now my working world consists of meetings, conferences, work sessions, professional development, and trainings. I, along with the Director of Technology, and the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, have been charged with the training and support of 350+ teachers, administrators, secretarial staff, and community members in the area of instructional technology.

“Am I ready?” “Can I do it?” “Do I have it in me?” “Am I really qualified for this job?”

I’ve been asking myself these questions often over the past few weeks. Now, as I embark on a whole new job and a whole new way to spend my day, I think I am ready to respond with an enthusiastic “YES I AM!” 🙂

One of my first tasks at my new job is to lead in the construction of an “eToolBox” for our district that, when complete, will be a list of software and online resources that our teachers should strive to learn and use with their students. Although far from complete, I have begun the eToolBox wikispace and have invited the rest of the team (Curriculum Department & Staff Developers) to help build this resource that, if completed correctly, will be invaluable to the stakeholders of Wissahickon School District.

“Can I do it?” “YES I CAN!”

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The New Year

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As the new school year rapidly approaches, I am constantly thinking about how this upcoming September will be quite different than the 10 previous ones. Here’s why, and how I think I’m going to cope…

Firstly and most importantly to me, I will have new tools. My classroom now has a SmartBoard 680i and I now have a new macbook. I also have a new 30GB video ipod and a recorder for it. I can’t wait to use my new tools! However, innovation takes much motivation, thought, time, and effort. This I have already discovered in my hours’ worth of work for one day’s lesson plan. I realize now that I will have to spend a LOT of time if I want to take the units and lessons that I have created over the years and change them into meaningful learning situations for my students. Luckily, I have already started this transition in the past few years, but now I have the tools to REALLY make the shift. I am ready, but are the 49 other teachers in my district who are also starting this new school year with the Smartboard? I hope that they realize that they are now responsible for changing the look and feel of education in my district. I hope that they are ready to embrace emerging technologies and work to integrate them into their curricula.

Another difference this year is that every single teacher in my district will have a macbook. This will absolutely change the way we communicate and operate on a daily basis in school. In-service presentations can now be hands-on workshops. Department meetings can now be collaboration sessions. Meetings can be held online and communication can be instant and constant. Again, I am skeptical that the general faculty populaton will be as motivated to use the tools as I am. Some people just hate change!

Yet another difference will be the impending decision on whether my school has received the Classrooms for the Future grant. If the grant is awarded, we will receive funding for 7 1:1 classrooms in the building. This change would be HUGE for the students and for the teachers. Although I could not receive one of the 7 classrooms from the grant, I cannot wait to collaborate with the teachers who are chosen!

What else will be different? Clear Backpacks! The students are already outraged and school hasn’t even started yet. I just can’t wait to see what they will be up to once school starts…