"What is with the whole school turning, like, technologically advanced?" one Casa student asked recently. "Even Todd. We have homework for Todd online," she said. "I don't get it. I'm very confused."
This student was referring to economics teacher Todd Siders, who brought his Green Careers Pathway economics class to the library's new computer lab to discover the real and hidden costs of their ecological footprints.
In an online version of a traditional stations assignment, Todd's students calculated the costs of the various aspects of their lives -- driving, shopping, eating, drinking, smoking, etc. -- they listened to podcasted instructions, added their comments to a collaborative online message board, and reflected on their learnings via an embedded Google form. Here's a link to that assignment.
It was very cool. :)
More and more Casa teachers are bringing their classes to the library and the computer lab lately. It's common for us to have 2 classes per period using the computers at the same time. It's also common for Casa students to have a couple of classes a day that use computers.
Casa teachers get that technology is a tool that their students need to be able to incorporate effectively into their curriculum, because it increases student engagement, which increases student achievement, which better prepares them for the college classrooms and and jobs can expect to encounter in 2010.
This is one reason why Mrs. Kelin Backman brings her English and Event Planning classes to the library to use our computers to do their work on Google Documents. Mrs. Backman would love to see Casa get class sets of the new Apple iPads. "They're awesome!" she said, "and there are so many applications for them in my classes."
It was one of Todd's and Mrs. Backman's students who made the bold comments at the beginning of this blog post. And after having back-to-back classes in the computer lab, I can understand why she wondered what was going on, why Casa was becoming so techy.
I was recording Mrs. Backman's commentary on the new Apple iPad video for a podcast. I recorded this student's comments
as well completely by accident, and I'm so glad I did! To me, what she's saying is a sign (a very good sign, I think) of how far we've come and of where I hope we're heading. :)
back in september i blogged about the super-slow internet connection @ casa...
since then the network has been a little bit better, but we are far from being out of the woods by a long shot! websites are still blocked; wi-fi is still a fantasy; the handful of computers we have are still ancient (and growing older everday); and lcds projectors are still too few and too unavailable.
technology needs on campus abound, at least in my not-so-humble opinion. but i don't care about my opinion. i care about yours -- the students! so please cast your ballot in the two polls above. and, if you feel so inclined, leave some comments (annonymous or not) on this blog post. people in power just might be apparently listening... =)