It’s the last day of the New Year long weekend in NSW and the first time for a while I’ve had the time or inclination to look at other people’s blogs or write my own. As I mentioned in my last blog I have been grappling with some trying times and some really wonderful stuff too. My Dad has had to go into a Nursing home and I’ve spent some time going back and forth to ‘home’ to support my Mum(8 hour drive!) This will continue into 2011. My daughter also got her first prac report – truly excellent and I am so proud of her.
As we all do at the end of a school year I have been rethinking the things I’ve done in 2010 and thinking about the things I’ll do in 2011. The laptops have certainly posed some new challenges and I am busily thinking about how I will tackle those challenges in 2011. My first priority will be getting kids to use them! Year 10 2010 made some insightful evaluation comments on their use of laptops so far. The bad news was that few of their teachers seem to be using them – me. They also commented on a school rule we have that students must bring a notebook for every subject as well as the laptops – in case the laptops weren’t working or the teacher wanted the kids working in their books. Their complaint about the ‘weight’ and the pointlessness of bringing both books and laptops was significant I think. Needless to say- we worked out a compromise pretty quickly. In 2011 notebooks will stay at school.
Another comment was on teachers’ level of comfort with laptops in the classroom – they had clearly recognized that asking teachers to use a tool they themselves were not experts in was asking a bit much. This was said kindly and respectfully – not as a criticism of their teachers which I found quite endearing. While they were willing to bring their laptops on days when they had English, many had dispensed with them on the other day. This is an issue I have already taken up with my colleagues and executive. While we have had plenty of professional learning opportunities for teachers there is some generational resistance to insisting kids use the laptops and more leadership is needed in this area.
The kids also did not see the laptops as something that had any impact on the quality of their learning, while IWB’s were considered to have added to their engagement in learning and quality of learning. This is an area I would like to explore a lot more in 2011. I have been thinking about how to get kids using the Web 2.0 tools more effectively and ‘organically’ – because they choose to not because I tell them do do it this way. I am going to start with edmodo again and really spend more time on teaching kids to use it, before moving on to other tools. One thing I will try to avoid this year is trying out too many tools, which is what I did in 2010, hence the title of this blog.
My New year’s resolution is to juggle one ball at a time.