|Focus on Technology • www.idra.org • November 2008
When you first walk in, you notice a difference. The computers aren’t pushed against the wall, cords dangling. And the classroom is a-buzz with fifth-graders and their teacher gathered in small clusters around a virtual field trip to NASA to figure out what makes a storm a hurricane. Next, as a class, students are creating multimedia presentations on storm patterns and a website on how to be prepared. It’s not a special enrichment program or a sporadic assignment. The life of the classroom is infused with technology-rich resources that children are using to work on real-world problems.
To put these and other technology-rich practices to work, educators and family, business, youth and community leaders can look together at the new 2008 National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS•S), developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Five principles are at the core: (1) facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity; (2) design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments; (3) model digital-age work and learning; (4) promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility; and (5) engage in professional growth and leadership.
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To jumpstart the process, check out these community and school projects.
“Hula to High Tech: Hawaiian Students Re-Create History.” At Nuuanu Elementary School in Honolulu, a 400-student K-6 school, students interviewed their relatives about what their lives were like before and after coming to Hawaii. They created multimedia presentations of their histories. And kindergartners are the weatherpeople on the school’s Nuuanu Television News. Visit the video clip at: www.edutopia.org/hula-high-tech-video. Presented by Edutopia, you can learn more about these and other technology-infused projects at Nuuanu at www.edutopia.org/nuuanu and more about technology integration at www.edutopia.org/tech-integration.
“Beyond Black Boxes.” At The Computer Clubhouse, Beyond Black Boxes in Boston set up a partnership with Girl Scouts, MIT Media Lab and others to immerse nine- to 14-year-old girls in questions and problem-solving about science and technology. Check out projects – like the Lego lie detector and weather balloon that girls built with volunteer staff and mentors using sensors and various other building and art materials.
On Solid Ground – Make Sure All Students are Succeeding in Mathematics and Science. When woven into the curriculum, technology can excite mathematics and science teaching and learning. These core subjects also are key to success in 21st Century careers, including fast-growing computer science jobs. Listen in! to Student and Parent Math Conversations, episode 33 of IDRA’s Classnotes Podcast series, a conversation with Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas Parent Information and Resource Center. Here, you'll find out how students, parents and educators are taking action together to improve math instruction in a large, urban Texas high school. Also check out
Transformational Teaching in Math, with IDRA Math Smart! developer, Kathryn Brown and Teaching Opportunities through Discovery in Science with Veronica Betancourt, developer of IDRA’s Science Smart! model.
A FLAIR for Technology. At Harold Keller Elementary in Jefferson Parish, IDRA has worked closely with teams of teachers, librarians and support staff to implement Focusing on Language and Academic Instructional Renewal (FLAIR), a professional development program that prepares teachers to teach reading and language to English language learners and to infuse technology into the curriculum. As a result, teachers’ LOTI levels
are on the rise at Keller. First and second graders who speak Urdu, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, Spanish and English are now using handheld video cameras to film and storyboard puppet shows as they build reading skills. Moved to capture campus transformations, Keller’s computer lab specialist created “Born to Be Wired,” a presentation on technology innovation for teachers, families and community members. For a conversation on the project with Dr. Juanita García and Hector Bojorquez, visit IDRA Classnotes podcast: A Model for Successful Reading Instruction. To hear about school principal Sandy Doland’s vision for student success and approach to leadership, visit
Leading a Diverse Campus to Success. See “Facilitating a Vision for Technology Integration” for tips on technology integration at your school.
Tools for Sharpening Your Leadership and Making the Case for Equity, Excellence
Community Technology Conference and Youth Visions Project – The Community Technology Center Network, founded in 1990 on “the recognition that in an increasingly technologically dominated society, people who are economically disadvantaged will be left further behind if they are not provided access to and training on information tools,” is already entering young adulthood, and has much to share with the field. You can find out about CTCNet’s November 12-14 conference, which took place this year in Los Angeles, or visit CTCNet’s Youth Visions for Stronger Neighborhoods for a framework for using multimedia tools and training to engage youth in community decision-making.
School leaders can visit Michelle R. Davis’s 2008 article in Education Week to find out more about how to expand your knowledge of educational technology.
Visit the Partnership for 21st Century Skills – for a shared, cross-sector vision for linking 21st Century Themes with Student Outcomes (see pg. 13 of the pdf). Visit the Partnership’s web-based "Route 21" tool to learn more about how to align these themes with learning environments, curriculum instruction, professional development, standards and assessment.
Keep An Eye on Digital Equity: Visit ISTE’s A National Consideration of Digital Equity.
See: “Tapping Into Technology: The Role of the Internet in Family – School Communication, July 2008” for research findings on home-school communication via technology from the Harvard Family Research Project.
Tech Soup Stock connects nonprofits and public libraries with donated and discounted technology products. TechSoup has recently added a line of refurbished desktops and laptops from top manufacturers, pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows and Office.
More Cool Stuff for Classrooms - Mars in Paint and other wonders of the universe. Students can view video of Mars, learn about global climate change, find out how flies evade the swatter and learn about glow-in-the dark butterflies at NPR’s Science Friday. Need new ways to explain the nitrogen cycle? Here’s an animated model provided by McGraw-Hill.
Students are picturing equity (online) and promoting school changes to raise graduation rates. See “Library Shelves," by an 11th grade Baltimore student who took part in a collaborative project with Critical Exposure, photographing aspects of their schools that students “were proud of and aspects they wished could be fixed or changed.” Their work supported a campaign that successfully increased state funding for public school facilities by over $100 million. Student pride and concerns are also reflected in “Student Hands” and “Mouldy Ceiling,”
photographed as part of IDRA’s Fulfilling the Promise of Mendez and Brown gathering in Albuquerque.
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