Monday, April 16, 2007

A helpful read

Not to pat anyone on the back, but an article by Dr. Morehead and myself has recently been published, and it deals directly with the topic of conversation for Friday's meeting. The article can be found at

You might like to read this before Friday's meeting, and help the discussion along.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Wondering how the lesson design is going?

In the ending minutes of the last mtg. here are my notes as to what lesson/units Tech Focus Group members will be working on for their inquiry learning.

Sharon - Weather
Judy - Intro to the the Middle School
Stacey - U.S. Constitution
John - An inquiry based model
Angela - The Art Show
Keith - American Revolution
Joe - Why travel to the moon, or should we have zoos?

Wondering if anyone needed help or needed some resources?

Interesting reading

In reading my listserv from ASCD Smartbrief ran across a couple of interesting articles. You may have to log into the newspapers that these came from - to read the entire article - but it is just a simple registration.

A New Kind of Literacy Today's students face a different world and will need a different kind of literacy and skill set. An ASCD blog post highlights of an annual conference session which explained that literacy encompasses document, technological and quantitative skills, and that when these skills are taught within real-world, meaningful contexts, students become motivated and invested in their learning. Read more.

Teachers turn to Web to connect with studentsEducators are beginning to incorporate the Internet into their lesson plans, as a growing number are finding the Web an indispensable means of connecting with the younger generation. Google recently launched "Google Teacher Academy", a free one-day program for educators who want to gain experience with Google's technology. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration)

California school to offer podcasting classAtascadero High School near San Luis Obispo will next fall teach students to produce audio and video podcasts and publish them for the world to download. "We used to offer basic classes in keyboarding and that sort of thing," said computer science teacher Gary Bissell. "We don't offer those anymore because the basics aren't necessary. They've been using computers all their lives." The Tribune (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) (4/1)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Thanks for a great meeting

Hello Tech Focus Group,
Thank you for all the hard work at yesterday's meeting. I do think that you have ideas in your mind for some great projects and/or inquiry based learning.

I said that I would do a post to the URL for the NETS for students and this is it - - this is the home page that lists many interesting items. Perhaps the resources and reference guides are additions that FPS would like to make to their professional library if they are not already there.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Next Mtg - March 23rd

In preparation for the committee's next meeting, we would like you to prepare for the discussion by reading the information on project based, problem based, and inquiry based learning. For the meeting on the 23rd we would like to discuss the pros and cons of each method.

In addition - we need to make steps to begin to organize what issues become evident if the district would take steps to create some model classrooms using one of these methods. When exploring these instructional methods, think about how you would incorporate one of the methods into your classroom. Not everything you do, but a start. We would like you to share this with the committee.

In addition from this sharing we will begin to build a listing of needed resources, modifications, materials, professional development, curriculum restructuring or other needs that become evident.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Inquiry Based Learning

Inquiry learning - which may be inclusive of Project & Problem Based learning, still has elements that may be evaluated independently.

Biopoint - - gives a rather complete overview of developing an inquiry based lesson. Included in the article are links to example lessons.

If you were to implement inquiry based learning in your classroom, what resources would you need. Curriculum revision, professional development, development time, hardware, software, study time - what would you need to do?

Problem Based

The Center for Educational Technology includes a very complete description of the process of PBL at - PBL is not a learning process that is incorporated into a classroom in a short period of time - as the article speaks to the changing roles of both the teacher and the students.

The NASA SCIence Files gives some wonderful examples of PBL in the classroom. This is a link to the orginial page that gives more background on PBL, and at the bottom of the page there is a link to NASA's current topics.

Jerome, Idaho has linked a variety of lessons developed by their teachers for PBL implementation in the district. They ay be found at this link -

After reading the article of PBL, and visiting the following school sites - what you need to have/do to implement PBL into your classroom. Again resources, hardware, software, training, curriculum revision, restructing class organization - name what you would need.

Project Based Learning

Edutopia contains links to many schools that are successfully incorporating Project Based Learning into their classrooms. Please take a look at some of the school sites listed.

In addition this article, published in the June 2006 issue of Edutopia - - includes additional examples of project based learning.

Then answer this question - what would you need to implement project based learning in your classroom? Planning time, curriculum revision, training, integration support, equipment - what would it take?

Extending the learning environment

Independent learning - the use of online learning environments for students who can take advantage of extended learning enironments. Such online learning provided at Michigan Virtual High School and Concord. So lets take a look at these two sites and see what they could offer to the students a Fitzgerald Public Schools.

Michigan Virtual High School can be found at In checking out the course catalog, what courses could expand the offerings at FHS?

Concord Consortium can be found at This organization, long known for the powerful use of inquiry based learning in an online environment can serve a variety of needs, both for teachers and students.

Let the committee know what you have found interesting at these sites.

Monday, February 19, 2007

If anything is possible, changes to be made

The wrap up at the end of the Technology Focus group described a community of learners that would be responsible for their own learning. The learning environment that would be available to the students could best be described as an Inquiry based learning environment.

Eduscapes ( has an interesting introduction to Project, Problem, and Inquiry Based Learning.

With your understanding of Project, Problem and Inquiry Based lets discuss some negative and positives of each. I have started some new posts on each of these so that we can follow the discussion a little easier. Please post your opinions of all or some at the respective posts.


Content areas are taught in isolation
Students no credit for outside work
Lack of vision of future use
Current school structure
K-8 class structure

How do you see FPS in 5 years?

Related to the "real world"
Ongoing PD
Risk *taking environment
Curricular design to flow
Life long learning
Alternative methods of Assessment
Based on research
All students exit portfolio
Cross curricular instruction
Thinking strategies
Teacher use/access to data

Vision of the Future

Unconventional leisure time/uncongenial work time
Written communication skills will need to improve
Time management skills
Leisure/work will be blended because of the ability to take stuff with you
Jobs will be task defined not time defined
More educational guidelines/increased instructional pace
People work in the same place but the job changes
People\do the same job but the place changes
Less & less face to face interaction
All information will come from the Internet
Service industry
Well rounded/multiple skills services
Off site work
Globalization of manufacturing will require more education
Contracting independently, less benefits
More technical jobs require more training
More global jobs * larger world view
Jobs will require problem solving, creativity, critical thinking
More self-directed job requirements
Frequent job changing (every 1-5 years) adaptive
More expanded opportunities for minorities
Jobs moving\outsourcing=20Information easily accessed anywhere\anytime
hard\print will also be digitized * literacy opportunities expanded
Planning is more access \we can do it with tech
Virtual R & R maybe grater need to get away, but we may still be wired =when we travel=20Extended learning beyond the school walls
Collective Description:
Teaching must change\students are different today "digital natives"
Facts, etc are readily available
we need to provide problem solving/creativity, etc. More choice is needed "a global perspective is critical"
higher level thinking\more cooperative learning\life skills \self direction \ ethical behavior
technology should be transparent
curriculum and teaching needs to change
looks the same as it did 50 years ago
higher ed degrees very important
focus on motivation how
More emphasis on communication
Does learning content connect to the real world
More freedom with devices
more responsibilities
Essential questions
research focus inquiry based beyond basic content

Did you know...

Blog site for the orginial presentation (the one that you saw at the 1st mtg).

The Windows Media file version of "Did you know" has been removed from the www. Here is some additional info on the file - of the presenatation (it is a windows media file format), and the blog of Scott McLeod who updated the orginial.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Websites for reference and resource

Where We Are

Group Brainstorm

  • Have equipment
  • Instruction Revision
  • Need curriculum revision
  • We have tech programs how are they integrated into the district curriculum?
  • Good equipment
  • Lack of teacher vision/knowledge
  • Lack of PD
  • New staff not sure what is here
  • Knowing potential
  • Labs equipment and software outdated at middle school and high
  • Accessability in classroom/Lack ease of use in classroom
  • Instruction revision need curriculum revision
  • At home use does not equal school use
  • Specialized clases have good tech support
  • Lack of student access at home (25%)
  • No electronic devices allowed in school