Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bring Your Own Technology Initiative

February 22 at Valley View Middle School, I held the last orientation meeting for the"Go Wireless" Bring Your Own Technology Initiative for this school year.

We currently have around 130 students, about 10% of the population bringing their own technology to school at Valley View. On March 1st, we will hold a similar student/parent orientation at South View Middle School.
At each training session, I ask students about their hopes on how the laptop will enhance their learning. You can see their comments in the image on the right.

It's rewarding to see all of the students connect to the network right away and have access to the survey and other resources they now have access to in the classroom. Our district tech staff continues to improve the infrastructure to make the use of personal technology possible.

Last fall, our district was featured with several others in an article on the Bring Your Own Technology model in Converge Magazine. Many districts are seeing the advantages of students bringing their own technology as a way to sustain programs. The "Bring Your Own" model has been in place now at Edina High School for the last three years. With the additional netbook carts we have purchased at each building, we hope to allow for greater access to information and tools for students to create authentic artifacts of their learning. 
-M. Walker
Edina Public Schools featured in Converge Magazine

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

On Friday, February  18th, Twin Cities Public Television aired a program 
entitled, Digital Media: New Learners of the
21st Century

From the tpt Website: “Targeted at parents, teachers and anyone concerned with education in America, this documentary takes viewers to the front lines of an education revolution. "Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century" examines how mobile devices and digital media practices can empower young people to direct their own learning. Documenting five success stories both inside and out of the classroom, the program demonstrates how digital media, games, smart phones and the Internet are fundamentally transforming the way young people communicate, collaborate, participate and learn in the 21st century.”

Several staff and parents watched the program, and chatted about it here.
You may view the program in it's entirety below:

Please take a look at the video and take a moment to provide us feedback on the form below. You may also look at additional video and Web resources we have collected on our Engaged and Inspired Learning Website, for additional information. Thank you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Choice Is Yours Laptop Program

Families who are members of  The Choice Is Yours program in Edina are provided with a laptop computer and Internet access. Mary Manderfeld, Assistant Director of Administrative Services who administers the program notes:
One of the barriers the Choice is Yours (CIY) students and families may face in Edina Public Schools is access to computers and the Internet. Each year Edina High School and Middle Schools are increasing their use of technology within the classroom setting. Many classes are placing their entire syllabus with all homework assignments online. The academic registration process at Edina High School is completely online at this point. Families and students need to have Internet access in order to register in a timely fashion for classes the following year. By having a computer, families are also able to log in to theirs student’s academic information to see grades, missing assignments and other vital academic requirements. Families and students who do not have a computer or access to the internet at home are placed at an immediate disadvantaged to peers who have access to this information. Edina Schools is happy to assist our families by providing computers and internet access to lessen the digital divide.
The computers are paid for out of the Integration funds received from the State of Minnesota

Sara Swenson, Media Specialist at Edina High School asked a few of the students what impact the program has had on their learning. Here are their responses.

Edina Edfund Video: Join Us!

On Monday, January 26th, the Edina Education Fund hosted a luncheon showcasing how funds provided have impacted the Edina Public Schools. The program began with a video that discusses learning today, and how Ed Fund dollars are impacting classrooms. It is a great example of teachers in Edina engaging and inspiring student learning!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Edina Engaged and Inspired Learning Summit: January 26, 2011

January 26th, Educators in Edina met for an "Engaged and Inspired Student Summit" with the purpose of:
  1. To create the ‘Edina definition’ for ‘21st Century Skills’ AND
  2. Ask staff to identify where such skills are currently in place within our students’ learning experiences AND
  3. Share a common understanding for use in communication and curriculum/instructional design AND
  4. Consider what technology has to do with it
Dr. Dressen started off our discussion today, asking us to cross out 21st Century skills on our packet and replace it with 22nd. Students in our classroom will be living in the 22nd century, and our discussion today needs to reflect that.

He noted that learning is no longer linear, and we need to embrace that fact.

Dr. Jenni Norlin-Weaver then led us in a discussion, where each of us had a piece of art, and we were asked to identify how it might be used in the classroom.

We then viewed the following RSA Animate video, on Sir Ken Robinson's ideas.

Dr. Bruce Locklear, Edina High School Principal, then shared some of Tony Wagner's work.

Looking outside the windshield. Sometimes you feel like the bug. "Everyone" is an expert on education, because we all went to school. Sometimes we feel like we're hanging on for dear life. Everything is changing, and we are on a fixed income. Change is sometimes "taboo." Instead, we talk about "reform" or "best practice."

Last Friday, while working with the teachers at EHS on equity, five students of color came to speak to the group. 5 years ago, they would not have been at EHS, they would have been in an alternative program. The essence of what Sir Ken is saying, is that we need to personalize learning for each student. For 85%, they know how to "play the game" of school. What about the other 15%? By personalizing learning, and making all students feel a part of the community, we will reach that group. When you hear about 5 students who have had success, it gives you the energy to get up off the windshield and try again!

He then lead us through some of Tony Wagner's work.
We have an 19th Century Curriculum
20th Century Buildings and Organizations
21st Century Students

Dagget-"The world our kids are going to live in is changing four times faster than our schools."
In the last 50 years, our economy has transformed, and routine cognitive and routine manual labor has decreased, whereas non-routine interactive, non-routine analytic has skyrocketed.
What are the 21st Century Skills? Expert Thinking, Complex Communication are the new skills students need. How have are classrooms changed to address these skills?
  • Elementary classrooms-Instead of the teacher standing in front of the room, "talk with your elbow partner"
  • Edina Apps-Students can collaborate on documents
  • More group work-How do we evaluate that work? How do we prepare them for that?
  • Highlands elementary uses a lot of Johnson and Johnson's collaborative learning strategies
  • Band and Athletic teams support these skills
  • Need to differentiate and look at collaboration at different developmental levels.
State Standards lack attention in several key areas:
  • HS English Standards and courses emphasize literature (Though the refresh and core standards are changing.)
  • Reading material students will encounter in college or on the job is informational.
  • Ability to work in teams is not in the curriculum.
Creative work is the key in developed countries.
Top 5 new hire skills
  • Communication
  • Honesty
  • Teamwork skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethic
How do we align learning to purpose and relevance.
Wagner believes we are doing students a great injustice by putting them in AP courses to take information in, spit it out and fill in a bubble.
Locklear finished with a look at some questions brought up by Bernie Trilling in his TIES Keynote.
Here are the slides from this morning:

Further resources for the day can be found on the Edina Engaged and Inspired Students Website.