Twitter Poll

I asked my first Twitter Poll question last night, Does your elementary school have a tech (computer lab) teacher?

Here are the results:

17 people responded

4 have full time tech teachers-1 will be cut next year.

In one district only the Title 1 schools have a tech teacher.

2 have part time teachers-1 also teaches art and 1 manages the library and is only allowed to teach keyboarding.

2 have a TA or aide as the tech teacher

2 have technology facilitators and 1 will have a facilitator next year.

6 have no tech teachers although one will be having technology added as a special next year and one will have a facilitator next year.

What do these results mean to me? Photo from Marcin Wichary\'s flickr photostream

I feel fortunate to work for a district that has supported technology for a long time. I’ve been here for over 20 years and we’ve had a tech teacher all those years! It’s always been one of our specials. We’ve come along way form those AppleIIEs! We did switch to a TA for about 7 years after our computer teacher retired. But this year we switched back to a certified teacher.

I know there are students in our school that would get little or no time on computers if it was left up to the classroom teacher. I’m sure our district is not unique in this respect. This leaves me very concerned for those districts with no tech teachers or facilitators. If we’re to be preparing our students for the 21st century how is this going to happen if they don’t have access to computers at school and in a more meaningful way than just drill practice.

I’m wondering more about the role of the facilitator. Our lab is open every other day-I go back and forth between two schools. When I took on this job I was hoping to encourage and work with teachers to get them in and use the lab on the days I’m not there. We have a TA that is in the lab to take care of the technical problems and assist teachers when they bring in their classes. Some teachers are using the lab but I have not provided any assistance with trying new tools or anything else. This will become a goal for next year.

New Questions

Those of you that are facilitators, do you work with every teacher? Are the classroom teachers open to learning/trying new things? Do you like this position or do you think being a teacher in the lab would be a better way to reach all the students?

Those of you that are tech teachers in a lab, do you like this position or do you think being a facilitator would be a better way to integrate technology? Do you feel you meet with your students often enough?

Photo from flickr.com Marcin Wichary’s photostream.

Ning for Elementary Tech Teachers

Well, I’ve had 3 people tell me they’d join my Ning for elementary tech teachers if I set one up. So, I decided that was enough motivation to get me started. I was going to put it on my growing summer to do list but changed my mind and started it now. It was very simple since I chose to keep it that way. For now there’s no fancy background or logo just a basic background. Now I just need to put the ideas that have been floating around in my mind on what I what to accomplish with this Ning down in writing and get started.

Why a NING?

As a first year tech (computer lab) teacher, but over 20 years teaching experience, I feel alone. I do ask the classroom teachers what they’re doing in class and try to do projects that go along with their classroom learning, but it’s not the same as sitting down with a grade level team and planning out the weeks together. I see a Ning for elementary tech teachers as a place where I can at least go to ask advice and share ideas and sometimes vent frustrations. I’m hoping it will also become a place where we can share lesson plans. I’m not sure a Ning is the best venue for this but at least it’s a start and something we can discuss.

What to Include on the Ning?

Photos of how are labs are set up.

What web2.0 tools are we using and how are we using them.

How is Internet Safety being addressed. What can/should we be doing at the elementary level?

Post an example of a completed project with grade level and basic directions.

Discuss how to get teachers using technology in the classrooms.

Share links that we use in the lab.

Blog-I’m looking forward to using the Ning blog as a personal blog where I can write weekly about what’s happening in class and what I might change next time around.

Discussion about keyboarding-when do you start? How much emphasis do you place on it?

Who Should Join the NING?

Elementary technology teachers that are looking for new ideas and are willing to share and learn.

Taking a quick look at my Twitter Poll answers to the question; Does your elementary school have a tech (computer lab) teacher?, the Ning might also be helpful to those of you that are on your own teaching computer skills. (I’m quickly seeing that our district is very fortunate to have a tech teacher.)

Anyone else is also welcome to join. Come and give your 2cents on how these and other topics should be addressed in class.

What Else?

I’m sure I’ve left out many things that could be included here. But that’s ok. That’s one of the things I like about the Ning. It’s easy for others to start a discussion or a group.

If you’re someone that can benefit from the Elementary Tech Teachers Ning I hope to see you there!

Just a Few Thoughts

I’m on Spring Break and have been for two days already. I know this is the time I need to get a new post done. I’ve spent the first two days cleaning and reading twitter, cleaning and listening to EdTechTalk podcast, reading Twitter, following links, bookmarking sites and then oh yeah, doing other domestic tasks. Now I’ll finally take a few moments and write. I can’t decide what to focus on for my post so I’ll just touch briefly on several different topics.

Highlight of the Week

I’m working on a grant with two classroom teachers. Since we have trouble fining time to meet I put the questions we have to answer on a wiki. We were supposed to meet last week but I ended up with a meeting. But they went ahead and met and wrote up what they discussed and placed it on the wiki. This may not seem like much to anyone that reads this but for our school this was a big step forward! I’m proud of them for trying it out.

Diigo

Two weekends ago I spent the weekend filling in report card grades for about 750 students. After I finished each class I rewarded myself with a few minutes on Twitter. Each time I stopped by someone was talking about Diigo. I had signed up earlier in the week but now I was missing some gatherings to learn more. I did well, I kept the report cards as my priority knowing the conversations would be saved and I could go back and view them later. Well, I haven’t done that but maybe someday… Since I’m a newbie I wasn’t in love with delicious. I liked it and joined awhile back after my laptop crashed and I lost all my bookmarks. Then at NYSCATE I learned that it was more than a place to store my bookmarks and started to use it once in awhile to search on specific topics and even joined a few other people’s bookmarks. So, it was easy for me to jump ship and join diigo. I liked the highlighting and sticky note feature. I also liked the groups and discussions although I admit I haven’t really checked that out, my Google Reader is over 600, I admit I’m having trouble keeping up with everything! The best part of diigo for me is that it’s not blocked at school but delicious is. So, when I get to a point that I’m ready to start teaching teachers about social bookmarking at least I’ll be able to show them a site.

WordPresss2.5

I believe it was the same weekend (sometimes things seem to blur together) that there was also a buzz about the WordPress2.5 upgrade. I went to the site and read the 3 easy steps to upgrade. I downloaded it to my computer and then decided, well, it may be easy to someone but it didn’t look easy to a non techie type. So, I put it off. I’ve looked again a couple more times including tonight but still put it off. So imagine my surprise when I finally decided to blog tonight and there is the new version ready to go!

Comments

I’ve read several posts out there this week about commenting. I’ve read it before and I’m glad for the reminders. It’s something I don’t do enough.

NECC

I like the planning page on the NECC site. I have put in some workshops for the first two days. I will be sure to leave time for some unconference events. After reading a tweet from Miguel Guhlin I went back to NECC and signed up to volunteer. I tend to be very quiet when meeting new people. I am going to push myself to be a little more outgoing and try to meet some of the folks from Twitter. I also signed the wiki for Twitter NECC attendees.

Online Classes

I love my job as tech teacher and I’m learning so much from my new PLN but I want to learn more. I would love to investigate taking some online courses towards some type of educational technology degree. I’ve tried a Google search without much success. Anyone out there have any suggestions? I would love to hear them.

NING

Another thought crossing my mind is starting a Ning for elementary tech teachers, the ones that teach in a computer lab. I know there are some great Nings already out there but I haven’t found one just for elementary tech teachers. I found this wiki, by Amber Coggin, recently that is a starting place for sharing lessons. But I think I’d like more. a Ning would be a good place to blog about how specific lessons are going and share advice on the day to day management skills of running a lab. What do you think? If you know any elementary tech teachers ask them to stop by let me know what they think about the idea.

Well, that’s it for now. Comments always welcome.