This short passage is about a fictitious teacher and her first days of a school year and then how it could have proceeded differently with NETS in place.
It is a new school year at Fannie Lou Junior High School. Incoming 7th grade students to Mrs. Freddie’s class are excited, yet shy, eager and curious about their new environment. Day one of class is “get to know each other day” and review of class and school rules and procedures—lots of dialogue. Mrs. Freddie’s’ classroom is always well decorated with posters and other visuals that catch the eye and stimulate conversation. Rules and procedures displayed around the room are discussed, this was followed by Mrs. Freddie giving a detailed biographical speech about her life, including her family, academic background, years of teaching and her passion for teaching. Each student in her class was expected to share something about themselves also to include his/her name, former school, favorite subject, hobbies and anything exciting done over the summer, etc. Everyone on day one did not have an opportunity to share, introductions were continued on day two along with reinforcement of the class and school rules. The dialogue took the entire period again.
On day three Mrs. Freddie began teaching, science was her content area. Mrs. Freddie began to lecture about the science, an overview of the curriculum and other topics. A quick survey of the room after ten minutes saw about half of the class with their heads on their desk, others listening attentively, some staring out the windows, some doodling on paper. One student during a pause in the presentation raised his hand and asked Mrs. Freddie where her Promethean board was. He stated that his 6th grade teacher used to always used the Promethean board when she taught. Other children in the room perked up, chimed in with excitement and in agreement. A classroom discussion ensued about the many activities students used to do with their teacher and the board. Mrs. Freddie was floored by the wealth of activities she heard her students talk about. As she soaked it all in she vowed within herself to ask her principal for a Promethean board for her room. A spark was ignited and she also began to imagine how she could integrate her computer and other technology she was familiar with more into her lessons.
How the school year could have begun
The school year could have started on a different note in Mrs. Freddie’s class if NETS were a vital part of instruction at Fannie Lou Junior High School and if she was more versed in NETS. Mrs. Freddie could have tapped into NETS-T standard 1 by inspiring student learning and creativity with a power point or video clip of her personal introduction to the students. To generate excitement about the campus she could present an aerial view of the school using Google Earth from her laptop. Mrs. Freddie could have designed and presented her introduction to the science curriculum using clips from NASA, National Geographic, PBS, Discovery Education, and other web based resources. Students should be surveyed to determine who has personal access to computers, Internet, cell phone technology, etc. Mrs. Freddie’s first assignment to her youngsters could have been for them create a power point or video as she did to introduce themselves. This first assignment could be the initial plunge into incorporating NETS into student learning experiences and growing better digital learners.
The principal’s role at Fannie Lou Jr. High is to support Mrs. Freddie’s interest in getting and using more technology with her students. This support comes through funding to obtain technology, providing access to technology in the interim while she anticipates a Promethean board, providing professional development to grow her skill level using technology as well as designing engaging lessons. The principal has to provide Mrs. Freddie with the guidelines and protocol necessary to train the students on being responsible digital citizens.
Why this story
The idea of this story came to me as a result of a conversation I had with a teacher just this past week. She was at an elementary school where most all classrooms were equipped with Promethean boards. At her new school there are literally only a hand full of boards and she does not have one. She has been doing power point presentations with her students because she enjoys using technology. The teacher had laptop trouble and had to revert to using chalk and talk. The students told her/begged her for power point presentations and not the method she was using!