I’d like to respond to some comments made on the mini-conference evaluations for the technology sessions I led or planned. Surveys are typically communication in one direction, but when you see patterns in what folks are submitting, it’s time for clarification.
iLife ’08/iWork ’08
Installing iLife before the session would have been impossible without collecting laptops over the summer. This session was never designed to be a “master it in an hour” type of class. It was intended as an introduction to the new features. The goal? Whet your appetite.
We’ll be offering classes that specifically focus on these new applications in after-school classes. To cover them adequately we know we need more than an hour. Updates to the software will be coordinated with the class sessions. We’ll be advertising technology professional development sessions soon–so the opportunities will be forthcoming for getting iLife and iWork ’08.
These sessions, as noted, were a little “packed” to be effective as a “follow along” type session. We are still offering three after school sessions next week, up to 2 hours (if it takes us 90 minutes, it will be 90 minutes), for establishing and covering the features of the new blogging system. Since July, we’ve offered all teachers the opportunity to set-up their new blogs on their own. Either way, it does require putting in a little time to learn what it is all about.
We were fortunate to have Sallie Hill, the ITRT from the Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School on hand to help us introduce Google Applications. Yes–there is a lot to be learned–but the learning continues on as you explore these applications and what they can do. I realize it was frustrating that some folks could not log in. We’ll be checking into the reports we’ve received soon. Please remember these accounts were set up last April when everyone had the opportunity to try Google first and we corrected some problems then. If we only heard from you now, we assumed everyone’s account was working!
Remember, our login page for Google is: http://docs.google.com/a/glnd.k12.va.us
Will there be more Scratch training? Yes! Like iLife ’08/iWork ’08, this was a “whet your whistle” type of introduction to Scratch. But please don’t wait for the after school class! I provided you with resources to investigate Scratch further. Our next session(s) together will be strengthened if you take advantage of the opportunity to read some of the literature and explore some of the Scratch projects students have created at scratch.mit.edu!
Many folks told us this was a great day (Wednesday, August 20th), and I agree. Everyone that came to my session had enthusiasm for being there, and so many folks found the sessions helpful. We are fortunate to have the level of energy and enthusiasm in this county in our staff. I’m especially proud to work with so many of you, including our 2009 Teacher of the Year, Kamesha Smith. Her “speech” Wednesday morning was a special, unique contribution that took advantage of the types of media we have available to us, the power of music, and the “no fear!” attitude teachers require. She truly made the day special with her creativity and thoughtfulness. Kudos to you, Kamesha!