I hope your summer is going well and that you had some down time to refresh for the upcoming school year. As you plan for the year I want you to consider more changes than new room assignments or a new schedule. I was reading this blog post and it inspired me to write this letter to you. For years I have approached your office with various ideas on how to infuse technology into the school. While you have been receptive, you have not been supportive. It doesn't matter if you have tech-savvy people that are willing to help in professionaldevelopment if you don't make technology a priority in the building. Let's make this year different and start off with some achievable technology goals for the year:
1. Let's Utilize Google Apps! We are lucky that the district chose Google Apps because there are all of these great tools under one account. We can start small with just everyone depending on Gmail to get all school information and help teachers to use the features of Gmail. You will have to take a stand and not put paper copies in the boxes of those that don't check their email. By the end of the year it would be great to be using Google Docs for lesson plans and Google Calendar for all school events. For this progression to take place by the staff, behavior will need to be modeled by the administration.
2. Everyone needs to be held accountable when it comes to accurate attendance and grades. I understand that last year was confusing with a new SIS system, but the learning period is over. There needs to be consequences for teachers not keeping accurate records.
3. Students need access! I have to admit teachers are better at using technology than they were four years ago, but student access is a problem. Most classroom desktops are not used except as a reward or babysitter for students who finish their work early. Let's work together to empower teachers with ways they can utilize those computers with their students to enhance the lesson.
4. Why not utilize the students' electronics to our advantage? You would have to agree that trying to keep the ipods, cell phones, and game systems out of school is a losing battle. So many of these "toys" can be turned into learning tools. Podcasts can work on any mp3 player and we should be recommending apps for all of the students with the ipod Touch. Cell phones could be used to text answers in class and we could be sending out information in the same manner. Talk with Ms. _____ and Ms. ______on what happened when they used Nintendo DS in the co-taught Math class. When students are engaged amazing things can happen!
Change cannot happen without you! I have learned this lesson too many times over the past few years. Teachers need to know that technology is no longer an option.
Thank-you for all that you do and for being brave enough to move forward. I look forward to working with you on this new effort.
aka The Tech Tiger