Short term goals
I plan to
• In regards to inspiring student learning, more consistently model communication of my thoughts and analyses of literature and classroom activities on my classroom blog.
• Create and publish video lessons for various lessons such as copyright, Creative Commons, and netiquette as well as more how-to videos for writing, speech organization, Photoshop techniques, beginning photography concepts, lighting concepts, etc., which will serve as a means of both differentiated instruction for learners as well as reference tutorials for students.
• Communicate regularly and consistently with administrators from each building regarding technology professional development needs required by teachers and training needs required by students and/or parents.
• Facilitate the installation of and transition to the Edline site that is replacing the current district websites. The system is similar to Blackboard, and I will be on the team of trainers who will train staff regarding site management and classroom applications.
• Facilitate in the training of parents and students in Edline applications that will improve student learning and parent communication in the district.
Long term goals
I plan to
• Lead Personal Learning Network groups at each building of the district by promoting the Teacher Share websites that were created for each.
• Participate in twitter #edchat’s as well as Educator’s PLN and Classroom 2.0 webinars to explore technology trends and applications that will improve student learning.
• Infuse technology into my classroom as a means to differentiate instruction while providing students with college and career readiness skills. I also plan on using the Edline tools to improve student learning.
• Continue to participate in flatclassroom projects such as NetGenEd that engage student in collaborative communications with students from other cultures, creating global awareness
• Create a student Geek Squad at the high school and middle school. The squad will be comprised of students who will train teachers, administrators, and other students in using technology tools and in problem solving technology issues.
It is imperative that education systems change in response to digital natives. The first time I heard about digital natives was three summers ago when Dr. Leigh Zeitz from Northern Iowa University presented, for the lack of better term, a technology workshop for the district (personal communication, 2008). Dr. Z opened up the possibilities of technology as a tool for improving student learning. At that time, Pleasant Plains School District was in the process of re-evaluating the learning styles of current learners.
Milman says that educators must shift the focus of education onto students and their educational needs, “making thoughtful, informed decisions about how to engage learners in the process of learning, accepting learners for who they are, understanding learners’ strengths and weaknesses, and capitalizing on their [learning styles]” (2009, p. 60). It doesn’t matter what generation a student is from or what label educators stick on a student or group of students. The pedagogical philosophy must remain the same: adapt the teaching methods to the learning style of the learners.
21st Century Skills and Common Core Standards are also designed to guide educators in preparing today’s learners for their futures. This generation has educational needs that differ from previous generations as those generations had needs that differed from their predecessors. It is the responsibility of educators to change “instruction to meet the diverse needs of one’s target audience – and not blaming individuals for being different than students one might have had 20 years ago” (Milliman, 2009, p. 60). It is also our responsibility to promote this philosophy to our colleagues. As times change, learners change, methods must evolve and adapt to the needs of the learners.