Moodle, wiki, googleapps, tweat, netbooks — these are all terms being used by teachers and students alike this past week. It seems that the new netbooks (tiny computers) have been just the excuse needed to accelerate the integration of technology throughout the curriculum. By embracing the netbooks so rapidly, the teaching staff has demonstrated a willingness – no, an eagerness, for one-to-one learning. During some classes, one can find student desks neatly arranged with manipulatives and netbooks as the teacher demonstrates on the interactive board and the students practice on the computers.
Not only have the teachers embraced the new computers, but they are embracing various aspects of the Web2.0 to engage students. Mrs. Meyer is continuing to use a blog to post class notes from her math classes and Mr. Thomas has started to post notes from his math classes. In accounting, the students are collaborating to post class notes on Mrs. Baker’s class wiki. Mr. Hill’s art students are using Moodle to study art history, learn vocabulary and take quizzes. Mr. Wertenberger and Mr. Hermreck have gone paperless with their current projects. Mr. Wertenberger’s carpentry students have utilized their Google email to submit their recent essays. And only Mr. Hermreck could expect students to submit an essay on Moodle based on a bunch of random numbers. French 2 students are creating promotional travel videos using PhotoStory for Mrs. Enneking. Mr. Terpening is busy learning how to use the new flash movies for his anatomy class. This week also saw the posting of the first student produced YouTube video on our new YouTube Channel.
Even though we didn’t upgrade any servers or make other major changes to the computer network, several systems within the school have changed creating a learning hurdle for some (including me). We have replaced our photocopy machines with networked copiers in the hopes of reducing our printing costs. Another major change for the building was the addition of phones in the classrooms and voice mail. The main classroom area is also experiencing the trials and tribulations of a new computer controlled HVAC system as they fine tune the programming of that system.
Yesterday, the gremlins paid a visit to the school as several systems that had been working stopped working for some reason. During the day, we lost one interactive board, one projector, printers on the netbooks and the ability to print to the office photocopier. In addition, a teacher lost some but not all of the controls to his interactive board. Needless to say, the gremlins made sure I had plenty to do.
Although it seems like the library side of NVTekLib takes a back seat to the technology, the library has made some changes to promote personal reading. Over the past few years, a concerted effort has been made to purchase titles of particular interest to boys. Last year, we took the plunge and totally rearranged our fiction section. We had observed that students liked having the new books in a separate area. We’ve maintained that practice and actually keep two years worth of purchases separate from the rest of the collection. However, the big change was to arrange the books by genre instead of by author. Thus, we have sections for romance, young adult, humor, mystery, suspense, horror, adventure, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, sports, westerns and war. Although this arrangement makes it harder for me, the librarian, the students appear to like it since they migrate to a specific area and browse titles. It has been particularly gratifying to see guys open their library book when there’s just a few minutes left in class or lying on the floor during seminar reading.
The start of this school year has definitely kept me hopping – but it has been a good start.