Brief Overview of Tech at PCS
Olivia gets a "thumbs up" for successfully completing her coding challenge!
There is no time like the present - at the elementary and middle school levels - to begin considering what it means for our children to develop the necessary skills to not only survive, but thrive in the complex digital world of the 21st century. While it's impossible to predict where we're headed with technology, we can be certain that innovation and creativity of all types will continue to be appreciated, whether in the arts, communications, business or tech worlds. Technology is playing a larger and larger role in the creative process for young learners; whereas ten years ago one could "get by" without at least fundamental computer skills, today it is virtually impossible to do so, and computer literacy is considered by most to be as important as knowing the alphabet.
At PCS we will continue to focus on the development of fundamental technological literacy and help our students acquire a facility with technology that not only provides access and practice of basic skills (think keyboarding) but a gradual increase in difficulty/utility that enables students to best access a variety of learning opportunities, from multimedia production to while having ample opportunities to showcase what they have learned in new and exciting ways.
Overall updates 9.10.15:
We are in the middle of updating laptops in the building. Over this summer a 3D printer and 3D scanner were used in summer camps along with Pico boards, Makey Makey and Sphero robots. We are actively looking at ways that technology such as maker projects can enhance learning in the curriculum.
Chromebook Update 2.25.15: All students in grades 6-8 have personal Chromebooks at this point, with 7th and 8th graders having 24/7 responsibility for their Chromebooks, while 6th graders use is (for now) restricted to school. The project continues to be a huge success!
Google Classroom 10.26.14: We've begun full implementation of Google Classroom in grades 6/7/8. Lots of reasons for moving in this direction, so if you'd like to learn more: https://www.google.com/edu/classroom/
Google Apps for Education Update 9.2.14: At present the school is in a place of change in terms of our relationship with Google. For example, in order for all of us throughout the broader WSESU, we will soon be discontinuing our First Class email service, and instead using our Gmail accounts. From the side of a person trying to get in touch with a faculty or admin person, little will change except our email addresses. So instead of using FIRST_LAST@putneycentral.org, we'll now use: firstname.lastname@example.org, e.g., email@example.com
Chromebook Update 5.4.14: Our 1:1 Chromebook Initiative has been going much better than we could have hoped for, and all students in grades 6/7/8 have their own Chromebooks. 7th and 8th graders have access to their books 24/7, and for now, at least, 6th graders use their machines during school. The plan is to continue with this program next year, and further expand our already robust use of Google Docs.
Our initial group of 8th graders with their Chromebooks, PCS Class of 2014.
Chromebook Update 10.22.13: After much planning we've launched our 1:1 Chromebook Initiative. All 8th graders have been issued a Chromebook, and a sturdy case with a personalized ID tag. Preliminary feedback from our 8th graders is that they are enjoying the flexibility of unfettered access to their "personal" laptops.
Part of the beauty of Chromebooks is that, with a little advance planning, students without home internet access can still work on their assignments and projects. Once they return to a space with wireless capability - school, library, a friend's house, etc.- they can quickly and painlessly "synch" their laptop, and their work will be saved to their PCS Google account. Pretty neat.
Chromebook Update 9.8.16 Not much to say about Chromebook usage, except that everything thing has worked out just as we had hoped it might. In the middle school we're fully immersed in the Google Classroom environment and students have been taking excellent care of their Chromebooks. After three years of use we've replaced one set, but this was anticipated, and incidents of damage have been relatively minor. In brief, an all-around good move for our students!
Don Linden explains the fundamentals of 3D printing to a group of younger students.
Transformation & Technology
Check below for a pdf of the VT Department of Education publication, Transformation and Technology: A New Way of Learning. Much time, energy, and expertise have been expended in the creation of this document, which might well serve as a blueprint for the transformation of teaching and learning. Significantly, the document is not merely prescriptive in nature. Rather, it is a rich resource of information and guidelines for teachers, students, and parents alike. Thought provoking material, and a call to action.
For more on this topic: http://transformation-technology.wikispaces.com/
This work, supporting by funding from Pearson, makes for an interesting read. At its core it's really about the exponential spread of technology and making smart choices about the use of data in order to personalize learning at deep, useful levels. You can download the publication at the bottom of this page.