Most educators will tell you anyone who listens that there is nothing more frustrating than being forced or subjected to PD sessions that are a total waste of time. The outrageous demands placed on educators today coupled with the finite time we have to achieve them, means that we need every minute to count. With this in mind I want to dedicate this blog to the ICT staff at Trillium Lakelands District School Board.
Over the past 4 years I have been involved in several technology based initiatives and programs at our board. These include the Integrated Technology Champions program, the Innovation through Inquiry Program, Digital Learning Classroom initiative and a recipient of a Program Enhancement Grant. All of these programs are designed and run by our dedicated ICT staff members.
Their efforts have enabled my students and I:
-to not only integrate technology into our learning environment, but Redefine HOW WE LEARN (SAMR model) AND HOW WE SHARE IT WITH THE WORLD (Twitter, YouTube, D2L & our classroom website)
-to consistently choose the most appropriate type of technology to complete any given task (IPad, laptop, Google Drive, online application etc.)
-to engage in learning with students from other school – collaboration and group projects through the web (Dragons Den)
-to be aware of our digital footprints and how to shape them to our advantage
-to understand that netiquette is a core value of all digital relationships
-to push the boundaries of our understanding and move outside our comfort zones (infographics, sharing completed work with the world)
-to view technology, AT ITS BEST as a powerful tool which can be used to develop our best selves, while AT ITS WORST as a video game console which can create a generation of copy and pasting plagiarizers.
Many of the best aspects of my classroom, powerful assignments, engaging learning opportunities, positive learning environment, integration of technologies to redefine our learning outcomes can be attributed back to conversations at PD sessions led by our ICT department. Every session I have attended over that last 5 years has left me excited to return to school to share these ideas/suggestions with peers and students. How many workshops can you say that you have been to where you know there will be several ideas or learning processes that can be brought back to your classroom and will improve the learning experiences of your students. While our leaders continually provide us with training on new programs, apps, and ideas for how they could be used, they always look to see what we are attempting to achieve with our students and how we work together to share our best practices with others.
In particular I would like to thank Jeremy and Tina for all of the time and effort they have put forth over the past few years. They consistently hear the whining, complaining and attempt to fix all of the many things that tend to go wrong with technology on a daily basis. Their patience and understanding when overwhelmed by teachers’ anxiety, frustration, anger and downright rudeness is inspiring to me. Thank you to all of the ICT staff, especially those we never see. We know you are working for all of us.
Keep up the great work.