Sunday, August 12, 2012

So What's Next?

As many of you know, Brebeuf launched it's 1:1 BYOT learning environment on Thursday, August 9th.  For those of you new readers... 1:1 refers to one computer per every one student.  BYOT refers to Bring Your Own Technology... students were able to chose the best personal learning device for them (we support iOS, Mac OS, Windows, Chromium, Android, Windows Mobile and are testing Windows 8).

@jdferries is blogging in somewhat live time over at Confessions of a Jesuit School CIO... and quite frankly knocking it out of the park so I won't even try.  Check out his reflection of Day 1 and Day 2 by following the links.

I've been reflecting on the Professional Development side of the process this weekend.

The anecdotal evidence... 

Anecodote #1: Social Studies teacher writes,

I had a good day with BYOT.  I was able to set up all my students with Edmodo in my Genocide class and my AP Macro and APUSH classes were able to connect. 

Excellent.  Technical side - check.  Then he continues:

I have a question regarding PDF's and what would be the best way for students to use them on a computer. 

Fair question...How best to use, navigate and annotate static content.

Anecdote #2: Vocal Music teacher requests,

Am thinking of where students should send recordings when I’ve had them all record themselves singing one of our choir pieces. 

Wow!  Great question...There’s a specific learning need met by a 1:1 environment – recording the individual voice.

Anecdote #3: Math Teacher writes,

...It is changing the way that we do our graphing calculators (let the students be responsible for learning the tech), too. And it is very empowering. I am witnessing teachers in my own department adopting a more advanced online presence that implements multiple cloud services, each with a specific purpose…

I am feeling pretty good right about now...then he continues...

So…, how do we sustain this in the long term? 

And there it is… the dust hasn’t even settled and the question of sustaining momentum come up.  I have been a little torn on this.  I thought JD and I could sit back, at least for a month, to regroup and rest a bit.  I truly expected a slower grasp of enthusiasm and sense of adventure in change. I thought we'd still be building some momentum. I am forced to accept the error of my thinking.

So how to we sustain for the long term?  This summer, at the International Colloquium for Jesuit Secondary Education, I listened to Daniel Villanueva, SJ (@danivillanueva)  lay out what is probably going to be my focus for the next three years.  He spoke of moving technology from systems of support to systems of advocacy.  Right now, Brebeuf is in a system of support.  We have structure to support learning – BlackBoard Engage as learning management system.  Google Docs to support production of documents, spreadsheets, presentations… the business of being a student.  We have Rediker Administrators Plus and Admissions Plus to support the business of our academic and admissions processes.  We have a wireless network to support 6 or so operating systems. The next step is to move beyond these supports and into advocacy.  Advocacy as in morally and ethically working to influence social, political, economic decision making.  In Jesuit terms – developing men and women for others in our students and faculty/staff.  Men and women who will use their talents, resources and technologies to promote equality of education (local, state, global).  Men and women who promote excellence in teaching not only within our walls but into the national scene.  Men and women who fight for justice, who engage in dialogue and act with solidarity with the poor.  In his keynote, Dani spoke of the power of social media at World Youth Day in 2012.  Empowering young people to speak with the voice of social media.   The adults created the system of support (wifi hotspots, starter blog, couches) and the students created advocacy structuring dialogues on justice via Facebook, Twitter and blogs.  As I have written before, point the way and get out of the way.  

Moving from systems of support to systems of advocacy will sustain the remarkable momentum we have going.   We have the support systems in place.  Now we can turn our eyes to the power of these systems in our student’s hands.  Not sure exactly how this will play out... but it’s exciting to think about!

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