Sunday, October 18, 2015

Looking Forward To It All!

I would like to thank Superintendent Jon Bernard and Assistant Superintendent Patrick Daly for their warm welcome to the North Reading Public Schools. It has been exciting to see the great work the faculty and staff have done related to Digital Learning and see the opportunities available for staff and students in North Reading. During the past week, I had the opportunity to tour all the schools and meet teachers, administration and review the tremendous technology resources and application of the digital tools across the district. It sure is an exciting time with the new buildings open and the tremendous positive morale surrounding teaching and learning.

I have had a chance to meet in a variety of capacities (one to one, group) the Digital Learning team, which includes the Digital Learning Specialists, Library/Media Specialists, Digital Learning Para’s, Data Specialist and Network Admin across the district and begin to develop a shared vision for Digital Learning in the NRPS. This team will take advantage of the huge opportunity to provide to model technology fluency, provide collaborative approaches to integrating technology with teachers and provide new opportunities for all students to learn critical technology skills.

On October 17th, the members of the digital learning team were able to attend an all day Saturday training on the Google Apps for Education Console. This training supports our Specialists to manage the Google Apps for Education accounts and Chromebook devices. This training helps provides a level of flexibility across our specialist so they manage the organization of the Google Apps domain and student accounts. These experiences support a more streamlined efficiency for the teacher in the classroom. 

It is exciting to see a district that is not only invested in new resources and structures to support student learning with technology but also witness how the talented teachers and staff make it work. I have begun to get a feel for what makes North Reading such a great place for learning and I am honored to provide the leadership to the Digital Learning team.

From Left to Right-Daniel Downs,Christine Lindsay,Joanne Coughlin, Kathy Dasho &  Helen Kelly (Not in Picture) attended the Google Apps Console Training At SEEM Collaborative in Woburn, MA on October 17th.

Current Areas Of Focus:
Professional Development & Outreach Opportunities Related To Digital Learning
  • In the past two weeks I have been able to outline a series of tech drop in sessions for all teachers called "Tech Buzz Sessions" and will be provided in the High School/Middle School Media Center. These sessions will occur bi-monthly on Tuesdays and provide a variety of different Tech tutorials related to such topics as Google Apps for Education and IPad Classroom Integration.
  • Also, as part of my role I would like to be able to communicate to parents the importance of our Digital Citizenship curriculum and strategies to support these topics at home as well as in the classroom. There is also a need to communicate with parents about the use of Google Apps for Education and how they can support their children with these tools.
Vision For The Digital Learning Specialists
  • The North Reading Digital Learning team is comprised of extremely talented, technologically skilled educators who can be seamlessly included any part of a teacher’s plan for integrating technology into their classroom. To shift the level of      technology integration across classrooms we must support the relationships that the Digital Learning Specialists have with classroom teachers.
  • We are currently in the process of adopting a co-teaching model that will reflect the goals and ideals of how the digital learning specialist role with teachers can support and enhance the integration of their technology into their current curriculum. It is important that teachers can take on a level of independence using      the technology tools and the digital learning specialist are there to support their growth as they integrate these tools. 
Digital Learning Curriculum Development
  • It is critical that the K-8 Digital Learning curriculum be continually adapted and enhanced as the technology needs of students change. The digital learning specialists provide students with a robust digital learning curriculum which includes digital citizenship, robotics, digital research and programming skills.
  • During the course of this year we will be reviewing and adapting the K-8 Digital Learning curriculum and identify the major benchmark for students by grade level and review the potential growth areas that can be integrated moving forward.
Review Current Protocols for Troubleshooting Technology
  • The ability to troubleshoot/solve issues with hardware and software helps to maintain the integrity of the working conditions for teachers and all staff. This week I had the chance to initiate an in-house test of a new ticket support system. We are currently testing out the system and hope to roll it out to all teachers within the next two weeks.