No Longer Just The Old Typing Class…

A recent article published in eSchoolNews hit home to me. It addresses issues that educators grapple with on an ongoing basis, particularly relating to how we prepare our students for the world today and in the future. Those of us involved with educational technology have seen a shift in emphasis in the national standards for technology education during the past several years (see ISTE National Educational Technology Standards), from a focus on lower-level skills to higher-level critical thinking skills (creativity, innovation, problem-solving, decision making). The eSchool News article is food for thought as we continue to review the focus of my school’s’ technology program curriculum and some of the goals that we are working toward in the middle school computer lab.

Here’s an excerpt, with a link to the full article below.

“A lot of people think the skills that students need to learn for the workforce and the skills they need to learn to be a good citizen are two separate sets. But they’re not. What makes a student successful in the global workforce will make a person successful at life…. [Employers] . . .don’t mind training employees in technology–but you can’t teach someone how to think.”

Tony Wagner from Harvard argues for a list of seven “survival skills” that students need to succeed in today’s information-age world, taken from his book The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need–And What We Can do About It. It’s a school’s job to make sure students have these skills before graduating, he says:

1. Problem-solving and critical thinking;
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence;
3. Agility and adaptability;
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship;
5. Effective written and oral communication;
6. Accessing and analyzing information; and
7. Curiosity and imagination.

Story: http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=56127

School Event Photos & Flickr

I’m a fan of good photographs, and the photos in the slide show below capture some moments from my school’s’ recent Family Fall Festival. These are really good photos!

So, what’s the “techie” story behind sharing these photos here on the blog?

Friend, parent and talented photographer Eric Jensen (who, by the way, provides insightful and helpful hands-on support for our school’s technology program), suggested that we test a feed from the photo sharing site Flikr to create the slide show below. Our main school website is a bit limiting when it comes to uploading, storing, sharing, and displaying photos, hence our little experiement with my classroom blog.  

Thanks Mr. Jensen!

Boo!

Some interesting characters were seen around my school on Friday, October 31. Mr. “Retro Man” Renfroe greeted families during the morning carpool and was seen strutting his stuff throughout the day. The third grade students were nowhere to be seen during their regularly scheduled computer class, while goblins, alter egos, famous personalities, and storybook characters took their place. Who are these people?

Election Day 2008

My students in grades 4 through 8 lined up outside the Jefferson Building computer classroom to vote for President and 3 ballot referendums today. Outside, students politicked while inside, 8th graders served as election workers and poll watchers.

For those of you following the techie side of things, we used SurveyGizmo to create the ballot, which we embedded onto our Cardinals’ Nest Wiki space. We were able to compile results in real time using SurveyGizmos’ reporting tools. Mr. Hartranft is happy to report no computer glitches (whew!).

Thanks to Mrs. Harkins for coordinating this important civics lesson!