Tech Integration Workshop - Step 12: Make Improvements

Note: Do not do this lesson until you have watched the Watch First video.

Lesson + Action Guide Video:

Once you have watched the video please complete this step in the Workshop Checklist.

Return to the Table of Contents for the Technology Integration Workshop.

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Transcription of Videos:

Lesson & Action Guide

Hello again everyone.  Welcome to the Tech Integration Workshop here at SchoolTechnology.Org.  My name is Brad Flickinger - and welcome to Step 12 of the Tech Integration Workshop, which is called “Make Improvements.”

Now this is the last Step and we only have one more video after this, which is called the “Watch Last” video.  But this is really it; this is the last come-together for everything to work out - and that is “Make Improvements.”

Alright!  So, for improvements to happen, you need to record data along the way.  So you need to have some place where you start and some place where you are going.  So for me to be able to reflect back over time I use my reports that I have.  And so every month I give my Principal a monthly report basically saying the things that are happening this month technologically, and with 21st Century Skills, in the Building - just so I can keep track of what happens in October or what happens in November.

And then on that report is a little line I have on there for making improvements - like, “Allow an extra week for podcasting,” say, or, “Animation happened a lot faster than we anticipated so subtract a week off of that - those type of things; so I have a little list of improvements.

And then, although my Superintendent hasn’t asked for it, I send him an annual report of basically the state of the school that I am in with regards to technology;  so the great things that we are able to do.  And then on that report I will send links to the website to show off some of the great things that the students are doing. And really I just want it so that the Superintendent knows that in our Building 21st Century Skills are being taught.  So if he is ever asked when he is out and about and doing all of his superintendent things, like, “Hey, what are you doing about 21st Century Skills in your schools for your students?” he can say, “You know what?  I was just looking at something the other day and I saw this incredible animation that happened in one of our elementary schools…”  Just for those… and it is very brief - “This is what we’re doing.  This is what’s happening.”

But, again, it allows me to be accountable and to make improvements by seeing what happens from year to year and from month to month.

Now, you HAVE to keep the digital artifacts fresh - meaning that, you know, what is “hip” and cool, and the students are into it this year, it might not be that way a few years from now.

Let me give you an example: Right now in 2010 Facebook is the thing to have. Kids are using Facebook all the time. But if I was to be still teaching lessons on MySpace, it would be a joke!  The kids don’t use MySpace any more! I don’t know who’s still left using MySpace but it is certainly not the kids around me!

So you see, you have to… even though one social media has just been replaced by the other one, they are very similar - you HAVE to keep with the freshness of what you are teaching. Because the last thing you need are kids coming into a classroom and rolling their eyes going, “Are you kidding? We’re going to learn about 5 ¼ inch diskettes?” or something, you know?  Things like that - you have got to keep it fresh.

Not meaning that you start from scratch every year - but you take a look at your digital artifacts and just say, “Hmm, okay.  Animation - yes, still good, still really good for my kids to learn. Let’s see… podcasts - yes, still very relevant...” - those types of things.  You just take a quick look at it; make any final tweaks to it - just to keep things fresh.

And, boy, I tell you, any time there is a change or anything you have GOT to always be there for the teachers saying, “Oh, you know, we kind of adjusted / we got new software for recording audio - let me come in and teach you, show you…” whatever differences there might be with what they are familiar with - those types of things. You have got to support the teachers one hundred percent in any little minor changes that come through the curriculum or through the program - those types of things.  So always do that.

As well as take a look at those twenty-five to thirty different courses that you offer your teachers and see if any of THOSE need to be updated and refreshed to keep them current.

And then finally, I spend my summers taking all this together and making whatever improvements that might need to happen on these projects.  So for example, right now it is summer 2010 and I am really digging into the web show that my kids have produced - and you can see a shot of it right here.

I didn’t like how some of the things were coming together but I LOVED a lot of the other parts.  So I am just trying to tweak a couple of those things.

So I have a list of I think about forty / forty-five items, of just little improvements I want to make across the whole gamut of things that I take care of for technology.

And the great thing about having the summer is that when the kids start I get a whole new crop of kids that come into these certain programs and then it is just like, “Okay, now this is how we do it this way…”  And I am not trying to get out of them the old system because they might not be familiar with that.

So I really do spend my summers doing improvements.  And that is what I am recommending for you to do too.

So, hey, welcome to the end of the whole Tech Integration Workshop.  I will see you just for a couple of parting words in the “Watch Last” video.  But other than that, good luck with everything! I hope you have learned a lot and I hope your school is improving all around you with 21st Century Skills. It is something that you can be really proud of.

And thanks again for being with all this.  My name is Brad Flickinger, with SchoolTechnology.Org.  See you!