After a summer of healing my broken arm and enjoying my grandchildren, I am ready for the newness that awaits. I have again become digitalkarl after spending most of the summer in analogkarl mode. Except for two weeks when I did summer camps on Lego Mindstorms and Scratch, I was not on a computer. I did listen to my iPod often on walks and did “read” Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. A great book and one my daughter will be teaching to her 8th grade students using the Young Readers edition. I would think it would be perfect for our 8th grade students as well.
Onto the title:
New school year is full of promise and changes as new technologies are introduced as well as new teachers, students to our middle school. I am now leading an early bird workshop with 5 teachers who are learning about our new technology skills matrix based on ISTE’s NETS skills. I am thrilled with how the workshop is going so far as teachers are receptive, engaged and providing great feedback in the VoiceThreads and Moodle Discussion Forums. This is great because all MS Faculty will be using this course next week during the kickoff to getting ready for school. It is my first attempt to have a true online workshop in Moodle that can be self-directed if so desired. My hope is this will free teachers to learn on their own or to complete it when they have time and use the time dedicated in the start up week to the most pressing issue which may or may not be attending a workshop with me.
New Course: Foundations of Technology for 5th and 6th graders. I will be teaching a trimester course where we will address these ISTE technology skills. I am excited to finally have this course in the schedule as it has taken 4 years. The course is now part of the Fine Arts rotation which means the final spoke on the 6th wheel will not be the ability to take one of the Fine Arts from the existing rotation. In most of life, we live in a zero sum world, and in order to fit in this technology course, we dropped this choice. The rotation also means that a student could have been here for almost 2 years before they take a technology course. Still, it is better to have one then not as has been the case. Integration into core classes has been pretty successful, but this course will allow me to focus directly on what I think students should be learning and not embedding it into other projects. My course will be totally project based with students assembling a digital portfolio in their own VoiceThread.
New Moodle: The Middle School now has our own Moodle server as we have installed a separate Internet connection on our campus. The new address is http://msmoodle.da.org/moodle/ This new 20 mbps connection should really help with load time and computer use. Please adjust your bookmarks to reflect this new address.