Update 11.8.2012

The progress of our transformational technology project continues to move forward! Here are some key events from the last few weeks:

  • Continued professional development: Our buildings are hosting (almost) weekly trainings on site. These sessions are now mostly being conducted by teachers at each building. Greenvale Park Grade 3 teacher Tony Seidl share a number of science-related apps with colleagues last Friday. My favorite was SciFri – an app that has a number of science resources based on the National Public Radio Science Friday program. Sibley Elementary’s Grade 3 teacher Katie Morris shared more information on Notability with her colleagues this past Tuesday morning. Each week we continue to build the capacity of our staff when it comes to understanding apps and how they can support professional efficiency and student learning.
  • Task forces: We had two great task force meetings last week! Our content and apps selection group worked with rubrics and checklists from Learning in Hand. They also reviewed how the current curriculum review process can adapt to evaluate digital textbooks. Our policy and procedures task force made great progress in developing our draft iPad Student Guide! We have been basing our work on the success of other districts in the region while adapting the documents to our local needs.
  • Our district technology steering committee met last Friday and began the process of debating what grade levels could benefit the most from tablet computers and what an implementation at various grade levels might look like. Their work will form the basis of the recommendation we’ll make to the School Board in January.
  • We got our hands on an iPad Mini and are evaluating whether or not this might be an effective option for our students. The general reaction has been positive about this device. We’ve been sharing it with teachers and  were able to ask some Northfield Middle School students their initial impressions of the iPad Mini vs. the bigger iPad 2 that our teaching staff is using this year – again with positive first impressions. We’ll continue to discuss this in the coming month.
We also have continued our iPad Minute segment at School Board Meetings. The video below is from the October 22nd Board meeting. The iPad Minute segment begins at 62:10 mark.