When One Quarter isn't Enough

As the computer teacher in my school I am part of the Creative Arts team. It is a great group of talented teachers who put up with not getting the same respect as the academic teams (I know this to be true since I was once on the other side). Some of my team gets to see their students all year long like Band or Chorus, but I am part of "the rotation." Every quarter I get a new set of students which is great and terrible all at the same time. Lately it has been more terrible than great...

1. There is not enough time! Since my team is on an A day/B day schedule, I only see each class 20 times. For those in the Web 2.0 universe, you understand my dilemma in deciding what projects to do in that short of time.

2. I never know what the students can do. I know students are capable of anything, but what the students come to me is extremely important for me to plan. I realized this last week when I had planned a project for the sixth grade and many had breakdowns. This actually required me to stop the lesson mid-class and move to another activity this group could handle.

3. Think about the beginning of the school year... What do you have to do to prepare students for learning in your classroom? Now take that experience and multiply it by four. As much as I try to streamline this new period every quarter I still have to take time to get the students on the right track. Just as I get them really ready to create...POOF!... they are on to Art class.

So now that I complained, what is the solution? If I plea for semester classes or even an elective full year course, less students will be able to take my class. I see less than 50% percent of the school now and that makes me sad because students get so little access to technology in other classes. I can't really look to the other instructors who teach this course because they follow the curriculum and don't have this same problem. Maybe the solution is simple, maybe I need to realize that can't do it all in 20 days. Maybe I don't need to think smaller, but bigger!

As I was writing this post, I saw my Plurk tab at the top of the screen. For many of us it has been a way to keep the learning going after f2f meetings, conferences, institutes, etc. I tried Edmodo.com with students last quarter, but it didn't catch on. I wonder if there is a way for me to build an online community for students to keep trying new technology even when the quarter ends? Could Ning be my solution? What do you think? What are you doing at your school to encourage the use of technology? I am making a plea to Eduverse for help so I can start building a solution. I can't think of a better group to ask.


Ruth said...


I'm thinking the whole "think bigger" idea is the way to go. Perhaps you can get the kids blogging and turn their blogs into a portfolio of their work. Then they can continue to add to the portfolio throughout the year. Do you get to see them for a club meeting? Maybe they can coninue to work on the portfolio then as well...