During the summer break, we transitioned from Education Edge to Veracross. There is a long list of reasons why we decided to do this, but I won’t go into that in this post. Veracross provides more support than Education Edge to a number of roles across the school, from the receptionist to the registrar to the admissions team to the faculty. But with this additional support comes additional responsibilities. As a result, some roles have had to take on extra responsibilities. The following document details the current SIS roles and responsibilities at my school. We are only two months into the implementation of Veracross and I expect this document to go through a few versions before the end of the academic year.
We’re about to begin the process of redesigning our website at my school. Before we start I thought it would be a good idea to redefine the current roles dealing with the website and while I’m at it define a few new roles. The end result is the following document.
- Choose creativity.
- Think like a traveller.
- Engage relaxed attention.
- Empathise with your end user.
- Do observations in the field.
- Ask questions starting with ‘why’.
- Reframe challenges.
- Build a creative support network.
- The above points come from a slide created by David L. Gould.
- Untitled by me
In the Technology Department at Saint Maur, we’re currently meeting with school information system (SIS) vendors who are demonstrating their products to us. We’re meeting with vendors because the system we’re currently using to manage student and other information, Blackbaud’s Education Edge, falls short in a number of areas that are important to us. These areas include: parent portal; admissions portal; and medical, alumni, human resource and asset information management. (I won’t go into details about where exactly Education Edge falls short in these areas as this is implied in the checklist below.) Anyway, after spending several hours meeting with vendors I realised that rather than them showing me what their systems are capable of, it would be far more time effective to, well, flip things and have them complete a checklist of what their systems can and can’t do. Below you’ll find this checklist. Please feel free to copy it and make adjustments where need be.
First, before I begin the third and final reflection of my final project for COETAIL, let me provide you with links to my first and second reflections, and with links to the UbD planner and assessment rubric for my project.
I won’t repeat here the enduring understandings for the unit, so if you would like to read them, please go to the UbD planner.
Do I feel progress was made towards these enduring understandings? Yes. Because every student experienced planning and delivering a lesson. They experienced the difficulties that sometimes arise when teaching something, in conjunction with, the rewarding nature of teaching. They experienced that teaching reaffirms one’s own understanding. They experienced what can make a good lesson: clear delivery, engaging content, occasional humour and so on.
Again, I won’t repeat here the NETS that I assessed in this unit, instead I will just provide a link to the assessment rubric.
To publish the video tutorials, the teams employed a variety of digital environments. ShowMe, Vimeo and WordPress are digital environments that each team used in the publishing of their video. So, in terms of publishing, the first standard (NETS 2A) was done quite well. However, the standard also specifies that students use a digital environment or digital environments to collaborate, and as far as I know, this wasn’t done by any of the teams.
The second NETS that I assessed (NETS 2B), was a tough one to measure but I think was done quite well by all of the teams. Was the information effectively communicated in each of the video tutorials? Yes. Was it effectively communicated to multiple audiences? Yes. All audiences of these video tutorials have the ability to pause, replay and skip.
Student feedback was largely positive. A group of students enjoyed the unit because it gave them the chance to revise material in a different way (compared to traditional methods.) This same group commented that the unit enabled them to reaffirm the concepts they had learnt earlier in the year.
One student thought the unit made no impact on their understanding. Another group of students thought the unit had little impact on their understanding as they chose the topic that they were most familiar with. Should I suggest to students next time that they choose a topic that is somewhat challenging to them? That’s something I will have to think about.
- Untitled by me
This week, we began rolling out our one-to-one pilot project at Saint Maur International School. Every student in Grades 6 and 7 now has a school-owned iPad that must be brought to school everyday fully charged. To my surprise, the project took off rather smoothly. I didn’t have half the number of student visits to the Systems Room as I had expected. However, as with anything that is new and largely unknown, a couple of problems did arise. First, a concern was voiced by a parent that potentially there could be times when student use of the Internet goes unsupervised. And this is true. Secondly, on the first or second day of the pilot, a student emailed another student under the guise of another student. I haven’t had the time yet to work out how exactly the student was able to do this, but my first thought is that they discovered the Settings tab in the email client. These events led me to the realisation that for the continued success of a one-to-one program in a school, three things are paramount: policies, digital citizenship education for students and digital citizenship education for teachers.
Digital Citizenship Education for Students
I’m not going to delve into why there is a need for policies (I’m also referring to usage agreements when I say policies) in a one-to-one program as I think the reasons are fairly obvious.
I realised this week that not enough was being done in terms of digital citizenship education for the students at my school. Nowadays, regardless of whether the school is one-to-one or not, all students should be learning about Internet safety, privacy and security, cyberbullying, and digital footprint and reputation (to name a few of the issues that fall under digital citizenship.) Let’s take digital footprint for example. We are simply not preparing our students for the future if we are not teaching them about digital footprint management now.
If I were a parent, I would feel a whole lot more at ease with a one-to-one program knowing that not only are there policies in place but there is student education on how to responsibly use technology too.
(While searching for more information about digital citizenship this week, I came across a ready-to-go free K-12 curriculum that specifically deals with digital citizenship.)
Digital Citizenship Education for Teachers
Digital citizenship education needs to be a faculty effort, that way the setting of double standards is avoided. Also, if it’s a faculty effort, a clear message is sent to the students about the importance of digital citizenship. For these reasons, it is important that not only students but teachers too are educated about digital citizenship.
- Untitled by me