Our Digital Journey: What Do You Value?

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This is the first in a series of blog posts about our Digital Journey at Cecil Intermediate School. We are hoping to better prepare our students for their educational futures by allowing them to think creatively and share digitally. This is the beginning of our story…

The notion to drive change from the inside-out (from students to teachers) rather than the outside-in (from teachers to students) can be credited to a consultant at BLC14. We knew there were union issues. The word curriculum couldn’t be used. Curriculum committees had to be posted. Curriculum was written after school or in the summer, not during the day and certainly not at night on our back porches. We knew we needed to avoid the term “technology committee”. That gave the indication that we were focused on the “stuff” like Chromebooks, ipads, projectors, wifi. We knew that we couldn’t make blanket decrees to apply to all buildings, all teachers, all students. It was too big. Too broad. Too scary. Related, we knew there were discrepancies between the buildings. Some had. Some had not. We knew that there would be complaints. Many many complaints.

So, we decided to initiate a digital literacy initiatives with the students within two buildings open to change. Our consultant’s suggestion? Select five tools. Toss up a bulletin board divided into five sections. Introduce each tool with a quick 2-3 minute explanation. Tell the kids to go home and learn how to use them. When they were proficient, they were to come to us and show us. We would put their names on the bulletin board.

But what five tools should we choose? He asked us what we value. Whoa. Tough question. I wanted to answer honestly, but I was hesitant being so candid with my admin sitting next to me. We looked at each other and apologetically answered, “test scores.” There it was. The problem that has been locking me up as a teacher for the past 6+ years.

What would we like to value more than test scores? I keep coming back to my own son who has just entered first grade. I cannot help thinking that what I am about to do within the walls of my intermediate school building could indirectly improve education at his elementary school 3 miles down the road. How do I want him to learn? What kinds of experiences do we value in our home? Improving the system for my own children is what drives me. Inspires me. Makes me crazy. Keeps me up at night.

I want my son to create things. Invent things. Collaborate with friends and play with things. I want him to share what he is doing. I want him to learn how to program things. I want him to know how things work by trying new approaches and reading about them. I want him to know where to find the answers to questions that keep HIM up at night. I want him to have a VOICE.

This was getting bigger every time I thought about it. But I knew if I kept my own children at the heart of what I was doing, I’d be fine.  After all, they’d be in sixth grade someday.  But I also knew I needed help.

Stay tuned to learn about how our team was built…

 

The graphic at the top of this post is not my own.  It originated in a report entitled “The Learning Curve” by the Pearson company.  You can see the report here.  

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  1. […] is the second post in a series entitled “Our Digital Journey”.  Click here to read my first post describing why and how Cecil Intermediate School has embarked upon a digital […]

Thoughts?