Friday, March 4, 2011

CCSD Presentation on Educational Technology

Today we have a presentation from the Calgary Catholic School district on Educational Technology...

Teaching Digital Natives -Marc Prensky
-collaborative knowledge building

Pedagogy Continuum -reflective practice
I think it's interesting that the continuum presents a rule of thumb in level three "no more minutes per lecture than the grade level". How does that work for Kindergarten?

Capacity building? I didn't catch what exactly is meant by "capacity" here. I'm gathering that it represents growth and knowledge building.

TPACK model: balance between content, technological and pedagogical knowledge.
Online collaborations via blogs and wikis dependent on specific school teams and what they want to work on.

Big 4 Jigsaw Activity: Classroom Management, Content Planning, Instruction, Assessment for learning
How are all these areas impacted by technology?
Classroom Management: We have to consider self-management with technology around. What is "on task"?
How can you tap into the students' technology use for your teaching purposes?
We DESIGN lessons!
Content Planning: Lesson Progression Maps
Should it be working around the text books/resources? Is there something else that can guide your planning?
Program of Studies!
Instruction: Get creative! What is focused imagining?
Assessment for Learning: Love the Rubric creator
"Assessment is like a traffic light because it tells you where to start" -Dale Armstrong

The Snowball Effect
-provide students with the opportunity to choose modes of technology that work for them and their vision
Engagement strategies -modeling for teachers rather than talking at them in AISI meetings
Assistive technology: tools -low tech (paper, pencils, scissors, etc.) to mid tech (calculators, voice recorders, neos, etc.), to high tech (Premier assistive technology software -used by CCS and RVS)
-keyboarding very important skill for LD students especially
-get your support people involved (AISI leaders, OTs, resource teachers)
Be positive and build the relationships!
Universal Design for Learning: how am I speaking? Combine speaking with tech and visual support.
  • support and challenge
  • what is my goal?
  • what barriers might interfere?
  • representation: multiple methods
  • action and expression: models, feedbacks, and supports
  • multiple means of engagement (entry points)
  • always keep learning goal in mind
Make sure to read the Making a Difference document from Alberta Ed.

Digital Citizenship
Bishop Carrol website:
A lot of digital content is not allowed in class. The highly recommended digital resources are put into the coac site. Public Performance Rights need to be there to legally play the media in class.
Coac site allows you to search via grade level. The search results provide you with a synopsis, grades and subject area applicability. They are all cached so you don't have to worry about network clogging/failures. Basically, anything you access via Learn Alberta is safe territory.

Rubrics provide students with a framework: an ending point, starting point, where and how to improve. If you're only assessing the final project, you are setting students up for potential acts of plagiarism. Assessment has to happen throughout!

It's not about the technology, it's about the way we engage students in meaningful learning!


  1. Hi Sarah,
    I love that you noted Dale Armstrong's comment "Assessment is like a traffic light because it tells you where to start". I too found that to be a meaningful statement, and honestly forgot about it until I read your blog! In that metaphor, not only does a traffic light/assessment tell us where to start, but also where and when to slow down, and where to stop. Sometimes when I drive, I try to avoid traffic lights because I think they will slow me down. I suppose the same could be said for assessment...when the school day is busy, we may avoid or neglect to pay attention to assessment fearing that it may take more of our time! This is probably stretching the comment a bit far, but your blog just caused me to think a little deeper about it!

  2. Thanks for taking that a step further Erin! What a great metaphor (I'm a sucker for metaphors). I think there was so much great information in the session that it was really difficult to get deeper into these little tidbits. It's nice that we have the blogging forum to do that!

    I think there is a constant fear and anxiety about how much time assessment takes. This is particularly true in Kindergarten where you have two classes and assessments are often individual. Inevitably, assessment will take more of our time but this metaphor challenges us to prioritize it. This leads me back to a question I've had from the beginning: how do you know what to assess and when?

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Excellent outline of the multiple ideas presented during our CCSD session. You seem to have gleaned some very important tidbits. Regarding your question on “capacity building” – you are right in assuming it implies growth and knowledge. This is the new team building terminology used in public and private industries to describe an organization’s or individual’s ability to pass on leadership skills/decision-making skills/problem-solving skills to other employees (or even students in our case). This promotes self-efficacy and autonomy while enabling the employee/learner to build upon, and contribute to, current foundations or ideas. In essence, we are empowering even the weakest links to make a strong team even stronger.

    “How can you tap into the students' technology use for your teaching purposes?”
    The EdTech team (that’s us.) struggles with this through our many facets. Even teaching the teachers, we find a reluctance to adopt back channels such as Twitter to our meetings. However, we know that students would eat that right up seeing as it flows as a natural consequence of the current human condition (must be plugged in, must know what is going on…). There has even been dialogue about being at arm’s length from Facebook and assume you’ve taught your students well enough to handle themselves respectfully online – OR, get right in there just as a teacher is assigned supervision in the schoolyard to oversee the students. Would we see digital citizenship increase as a result of our students knowing that we are there in this new schoolyard? Even at the Div. 1 age, there will be technology use in moderated and perhaps specialized forms. Is it appropriate to start teaching them information literacy at that point?

    Your inquiries are well aimed Sarah. I am excited for our profession to see your learning turned into practice.

    Best of luck,
    CCSD Educational Technology Team
    c/o Mark Macaraeg