Monday, March 14, 2011

Cell Phones

I taught my unit in Cell Phone Use for School again last semester. You can see what we did at our class wiki. This was the first time all students had cell phones. Unfortunately not all students had "smart phones. Some students with smart phones weren't allowed to use the Internet on their phones. One student even had a hard time convincing his parents that he needed it for a school assignment.
I tried a new service where students could create their own mobile webpage. It is called Winksite. Each student could choose from several features to have on their mobile page. They thought it was pretty helpful and gave them a central location for their school needs.

As usual I find students to be really good at what they want to do with their technology. However they only know what they truely want. This leaves them pretty much clueless about the abilities and functions of a majority of the cell phone's abililities. We all learned a lot from this activity.

Yes, I did get permission and was encouraged to do more. We do have a policy banning their use, but the principal has the right to allow us to use them in class. So far so good!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hello! Again!

It's been a long long time since I felt the need to post here. I'm surprised that blogspot has not shut it down. So what was the reason I left? What has brought me back? Read on and I'll share my journey and the reasons why I'm where I am in my life. It's not some sappy story just the truth about education and it's spiral out of control. It finally came home.

I used to be the IT Director in our small rural school district. In fact I was the IT Director when I last posted. Now I'm back in the classroom teaching full time. The change was due to budget cuts. That was the district's stance. I had worked for 12 years in that position. I planned and implemented the installation of the first cnetwork, laptop for teachers, wireless, and a teacher in-service program. There were several other initiatives as well. We were podasting, using video, ipods, sub notebooks, skype, distance learning, some cell phone use, and much more. My goal was to be the best in our area of the state. I felt we were fast approaching that goal when, it all came to a screeching halt. My job was eliminated, they let my network manager go and replaced us with several workers from BOCES. In NYS that's a branch of education that provides services to school at a reduced rate funded by the state. The one piece they did not replace was the leadership I provided for staff development and implementation of instructional technology.

I am now in my second year of teaching middle school technology. This was some what of a culture shock since I have spent the previous 28 years teaching high school and adults. I have to say though that I really enjoy it. It has taken me this long to recover from the shock of losing a program that was highly successful and just about at the top of the game. I have focused my energies on creating a technology program at our middle school. So far I think it's going well. I get to share first hand with the students all that I have learned over the past few years with instructional technology. My middle school kids are creating videos, podcasting, using voicethread, wordl, wikis, and many of the web 2.0 tools out their.

Maybe it's time to share those stories with you. I can tell you that today I read a comment about my use of cell phones in the classroom. It was this comment that inspired me to write again. So for what it's worth, here I am and I'm ready to post.