For the past two days I have been in Rodondo Beach, California at a conference for schools who are members of the Middle College National Consortium. This has been an amazing conference of principals, teachers, consultants, etc. who all want to design the very best schools in the nation. Their particular focus is on disadvantaged youth who may be the very first in their family to attend college. While this conference has been amazing in many key ways, I have been keeping a list of items that I am eager to research, design, and implement for TCS@ODU.
1.) Get flash drives for all students with a pre-loaded planner, syllabus, important school docs, etc. Students can also be expected to search out on-line (i.e. through Sakai, email, or Google docs) documents that have been shared with those students by the teacher. This could, potentially, save us thousands of dollars in printing, toner, and purchasing costs, if we do this just right.
2.) No more agenda printing for staff and professional development days. We can develop agendas in Google docs and share with the entire staff. The agenda can be displayed to the full staff through the projector. Over the course of the year, this might save us several reams of paper, which is significant environmentally and in our pocketbooks.
3.) Show the staff the connectivism presention on YouTube (see video embedded below). I think that there is some rich fodder for fantastic discussions about how we can, as a staff, encourage our students to use the technology in more meaningful and appropriate ways.
4.) Do mixed group training for technology. All teachers can benefit from each other’s expertise and viewpoints this way.
5.) Have students solve problems in a group as a ticket-in activity, or during the class period.
6.) Research step-by-step instructions. Work with students to develop step-by-step instructions/directions for how to research, how to write, and how to critique research papers.
7.) Do discipline integrated media literacy discussions and trainings with students. Do not compartmentalize the training because you risk students not being able to understand how to apply the skills and techniques that they have learned.
8.) If a student generates a solid question, kick the question back to the class and have them work on an answer as a small group. They can then report back. Students are more likely to remember any answer they come to, and the process for how to solve problems is honored.
9.) Problems should drive the technology. Sometimes we let technology drive technology and that only leads to problems.
10.) I am trying to think through a way of using Google docs, Drupal, and Buzzword to help digitally facilitate the Peer Review process that we use with our school’s staff.
11.) Search for and develop a master calendar feature that students can have on their flash drives, or in their Sakai profile, that allows them to quickly add dates and assignments. This is limited to technology, but there is a lot of promise.

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