Saturday, January 7, 2012

1:1 at OHS Present and Future

Okoboji High School is about to complete it's first semester as a 1:1 school. We have learned a lot in the first half a year. Teachers have progressed in their level of comfort and knowledge, and have increased the quantity and quality of tech integration into their classrooms. Google Apps have become second nature to staff and students alike. The phrase "turning it in" has become almost extinct as the vernacular has shifted to "dropping it." We have had our share of wins (new tools, new ways of finding, processing, and creating information) and faced our share of obstacles (distractions, distractions, distractions :-)). All along the way our amazing teachers have eagerly pursued the former and found creative ways to deal with the latter.

As we celebrate our first half-birthday as a 1:1 school, it is time to refocus on the question of where to go from here. One thing that has always, and will always be true is IT'S NOT ABOUT THE COMPUTER. We have not set goals focusing on quantity. Our goals have been focused on the QUALITY of tech integration and the beneficial impact it can have on learning in the classroom. In that vein, as we have begun meeting with department teams to talk about the 2012-2013 school year and set goals, I have created two school-wide goals related to tech integration. In the 2012-2013 school year, EVERY OHS student will have AT LEAST one opportunity to use technology to:

1. Connect with an expert in the real world who uses knowledge or skills related to those they are learning in the classroom
2. Work collaboratively with other students across time and space.

These goals will help keep our focus on the reason we adopted our 1:1 program and further unleash the potential of universal access to technology. 1:1 is about empowering students to do things they could not do before. Both of these goals are focused on exactly that. These goals have been, and are being shared with our teachers as we hold departmental meetings and over the next few weeks and months, teachers will begin to identify areas in their curriculum where that will lend themselves to these opportunities. By the start of the 2012-2013 school year we will have a map of where and when these opportunities will occur so that we can insure we will meet our goals.

We are also busy creating opportunities for these connections with schools around the state, nation and world. Accomplishing these goals will not be easy but it is sure to be exciting and will hopefully lead to many new opportunities to not only "do things differently" but "do different things."

An exciting time indeed for Okoboji High School!

Make the day great!