Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting access to the classroom

Identifying the project was the first step. Coming up with a proposal was second step. Getting into the classroom was step three. Getting into the classroom to do the project turned out to be a bit of challenge. Although, eventually overcome and the project was started.
Allow me to tell you about the experience of gaining access to the classroom for my project. First as with any teaching job, I submitted fingerprints. In my case it was an affidavit of live-scan fingerprints at the beginning of September. Then I waited. I met with the class teacher and explained my project and got her approval. She put me in contact with the technology teacher. I connected with him and got his approval.
Next I got approval from the faculty chair. Finally I met with the school secretary and tied up loose ends on signing-in and making sure all the paperwork wad in order. It was now the beginning of October. However, everyone's qustions about what I was doing were answered and all the appropriate forms completed.

Now I could finally start implementing my tech project. Or so I thought. Since it took so long to gain access to the class and the class had to be taught the technology teacher moved forward with his lessons. Fortunately the children were working with the software program I had proposed to teach them on, Microsoft PowerPoint, however the content was no longer individualized by each child's 8th grade project, it was about birds. I am not the primary teacher and took a month to get into the classroom so I am grateful to be able to work them at all.

The first day I was surprised to learn that in the month of my absence the children had not progressed very far. on my first day the children were still struggling with login issues and making email accounts and the PowerPOint assignment was the first real technology learning application they were going to do. They had learned about the computer, its parts, its programs, how to log on, etc.. So It was nice to know I did not miss too much. Tech class is only once a week and before that it had been once a month. So my first day was very near their first day. Now to move forward to see what this technology teahcing and learning is really like.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The tech project's- setting, participants and needs assessment

Setting and Participants
The setting for the tech project will be a small public charter of Waldorf inspired instruction. The educational setting selected offers one class per grade. The participants will be a single class of eighth grade students at the Waldorf inspired setting. The eighth grade students complete a yearlong thesis project with a mentor to explore a skill, interest or vocation which includes research, proposal writing, internship, production, and ultimately presentation. It is proposed to use the self-selected eighth grade project as to be the basis of all technological activities. In this way the eighth grade students will develop technological skills in subject area of their choosing and building meaningful editions to their year portfolio and presentation integrating technology learning and exposure to hardware, software, and training.

Needs Assessment
The success of this project depends on access to materials, faculty support to offer instruction, time allotted to the projects, the teaching faculty’s ability to implement technology teaching through a constructivist approach in the 8th grade Waldorf inspired educational setting and individual student needs.
The technology situation at the Waldorf inspired educational setting has approximately 20 Macintosh lap tops that are available to the students to use; the current schedule is once per week. There is not a permanent computer lab, rather a locking cart which is wheeled in to the classrooms and students are allowed to use the laptops during a technology block, or lesson.
There is a specialty teacher who offers instruction on technology and physical education to all eight grades at the school. The classroom teacher supports the pedagogical views of Waldorf education and sees the value of offering instruction in technology. There is enough materials for all students to use and there is faculty with proficient technological skills to offer instruction.
Student needs will be based on each student’s abilities and comfort with technology in regards to California department of Education eight grade technology standards. Opportunity to use computers with greater frequency will be needed to improve student’s technological fluency.

Proposing the Using Technology Project

The Using Technology Project is an assignment which consists of three parts: a proposal, a written paper, and PowerPoint presentation.
I proposed implementing technology through a constructivist approach in an 8th grade Waldorf inspired educational setting. Its primary goal seeks to assess the technological needs in terms of resources, materials, faculty expertise and student needs. Student needs will be based on each student’s abilities and comfort with technology in regards to California department of Education eight grade technology standards. Secondly, I propose developing and using constructivist activities to bridge learning and instruction gaps to meet technology standards and offer meaningful learning experiences for the students.
The Waldorf inspired setting being utilized for this project, discourages media and limits technology access, yet has been forced to mediate their pedagogical views to receive state operational funding and fulfill technology standards. My proposed Using Technology Project seeks to negotiate the instructive gaps between state mandated education code standards and the Waldorf pedagogy through constructivist learning approaches with technology with eighth grade students a Waldorf inspired setting. This project will be evaluated for its impact and effectiveness through observation and feedback solicited from class sessions and teacher meetings. The results will be shared in a Power Point presentation in the Technology as Tool, fall 2009 class.