from the Director's Desk

Musings about school library media and instructional technology programs from NCDPI's Instructional Technology Divison.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Why I'm Blogging

Since a couple of the consultants mentioned in their weekly updates that I had begun a blog, I’ve had a couple of questions about my intent, the platform I have chosen, and how I think blogs could be used in the classroom.

1.My Intent: For some time now, we have talked about the need for a Director’s Page or something similar that would give me an opportunity to highlight articles I have been reading, special projects we are doing in Instructional Technology, and perhaps some of the research and data that we are uncovering. I also believe that we in this division have a responsibility to model effective uses of media and technology in our professional lives—as I’m sure you all do as well. Creating a blog seemed a natural way to meet both these objectives.

2.Blogger: Our reasoning behind choosing Blogger is simple: it’s free and easy to use. We don’t have a php server, nor do we have money to subscribe to a commercial server-based blog. Granted, Blogger is not a secure environment. One of my first comments was spam, but we’re all adults here and I can certainly act as my own censor if necessary. As our technology options improve here at DPI, we may upgrade our platform, but ‘til then, Blogger is a good option for us—and moving through some of the other blogs on the site has been fascinating!

3.Use of blogs in the classroom: I think blogs have the potential to be a wonderful new tool for classroom use, especially in English/Language Arts and Social Studies classes. I can see English teachers setting up a blog for students to use rather than having them submit traditional book reports. History teachers can ask students to choose a current topic (the Iraq War, aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, how the oil producing countries are responding to the US oil crisis) and blog at least once weekly on how the week’s events are affecting their specific topic. Media and technology personnel could ask students to create a blog rather than a formal research paper, documenting their daily exploration into an assigned topic—rather than writing the dreaded research paper. Obviously, I’d advise teachers to make sure their blog and their students’ blogs are located in a secure environment—and that they have control over content and access. (David Warlick has a wonderful secure blog option on his Landmark for Teachers site ) But aside from the usual care we all take when our students go online at school, take advantage of a new way of teaching and learning. It has so much potential!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Gleanings from Readings

  1. Student information systems have a new, very important role.
    According to eSchool News, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Louisana and Alabama are using their SISs to transfer information to school systems that are accepting "visiting students," while Mississippi is helping individual schools and school systems rebuild their student databases from information housed in the state's SIS. Systems designed to track individual students from school to school and district to district are now a first line of disaster recovery that will allow children a safe refuge and normalcy within the chaos and confusion of rebuilding.

  2. "61% of teachers agree that their students' academic performance has improved with the use of classroom computers." survey by CDW-G, reported in September 2005 eSchool News, pp 1, 37.
    BUT this is down from 81% of the teachers surveyed by CDW-G/QED in 2004. Teachers are particularly realistic about the value of computers in preparing students for standardized tests: only 58% believe that "computers are somewhat or very effective when used to improve performance on standardized tests." CDW-G did not speculate on the reason for the drop in teacher confidence as to student academic achievement.

    I wonder if it might be that these teachers are moving through the ACOT stages and are currently somewhere between Adoption and Invention. In these stages, teachers become more familiar with technology, but as they move it into classroom use, they also become more uneasy about their mentoring ability. This could translate into a realization that they need to do a better job of integrating it into their classroom content. As these teachers move more toward the facileness that assumes technology to be a tool--just like pencils, books, lab equipment--we can all hope that the percentage will rise again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Frances Bryant Bradburn Posted by Picasa

Welcome to our Blog!

It's the beginning of another school year, and the Division of Instructional Technology introduced several exciting new resources for your use: the revision of IMPACT, a copyright DVD, the Collaboration Toolkit, and eBistro. All these were previewed at the 8 August Workshops we conducted across the state.

It's fortunate that we were able to do these when we did because it looks like our staff will not be traveling for the next several weeks. The Governor has cut all state employee travel except for emergency personnel because of the potential gas crisis. We can only hope that all conditions in the southeast, especially in the Gulf states, stabilize quickly. The impact on us here in North Carolina is so minimal compared with our southern friends. We will implement a variety of solutions to meet your needs and steward the state's resources. Just call us--we'll work with you any way possible.

Have a great year!