I attended yesterday's New York City Policy and Leadership Forum entitled 360 Degrees of Digital at Columbia: "This forum is designed to provide New York City administrators with an opportunity to experience education technology, as well as get a vision for what a digital classroom really means. This forum will offer a showcase experience of digital classrooms and technology-enhanced learning in action." A smallish crowd, a disappointing "experience." Instead of 360 degrees I'm reminded of Billy Paul's contemporary Billy Preston's song Nothing From Nothing:
"Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin' You gotta have somethin' If you wanna be with me Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin' If you wanna be with me I'm not tryin' to be your hero 'Cause that zero is too cold for me, Brrr I'm not tryin' to be your highness 'Cause that minus is too low to see, yeah."
I also thought there would be good page six blogging material available, but it was too depressing to witness the death rattle of the NYCDOE's technology infrastructure. There was, however, a good photo op that I missed of the trio of half snoozing pseudo tech crones of CCNY. Region 4 from Queens did try to raise what's left of the "flag" as did the Podcast for Teacher folks from Fordham. Mostly there were references to how things work well in Maine, Michigan and New Jersey where technology is supported by the powers that be and where they use Macs instead of those crummy PC tablets. In New York it's strictly math and reading (aka the reading/writing workshop) and test prep. My experience is that there are pockets of unsung tech teacher heroes that survive with the of support of networks of friends and of decimated regional tech administrative staffs (that will all be gone by next year). The BIG initiative from Tweed only impacts 22 of the systems 1400 schools. And their dynamic staff development modules look like this: "Writers Workshop Feature Article Day 1 Objective: Students will explore and develop an understanding of the elements that make up a feature article.Materials:-articles for your students to use independently (be sure to have articles at appropriate reading levels for all)-chart paper-markers-colored pens, highlighters or markers for your students to use Hardware/Software:-projector-tablet ** ibook (if using the ibook you will need a smartboard) -microsoft word, used to create template for independent student work Websites: timeforkids.com -Introduce the article “Sea Turtle Trouble”, anonymous author. We are going to read this article as a class for Shared Reading.-Read the article once as a class -After reading the article once, ask the students if they think they can take the article apart and name the different pieces.-Using ink annotations, or the smartboard if you are using an ibook, begin with the title of the article. Circle the title and ask the students if they know what this is called. As someone answers write the phrase “Catchy Title” next to the title of the article. Discuss the word “catchy” with the class.-The remaining elements of a feature article are as follows:-catchy title/headline -publication date -author-subtitles-pictures with captions-bold and/or italic print-quotations Go through each of these elements. Have the students identify the elements and then label them using ink annotations, or your smartboard. Activity:Students will be instructed to go to their seats. Have a variety of articles at the student’s tables for them to choose a feature article of interest. Be sure you have articles on several reading levels so that all of your students have something to work with. The students will identify the elements of a feature article by using their markers, highlighters or colored pens. Share:The students can share their work with small groups and as you walk around and notice the work of different students, it would be good to invite 2 or 3 students to share with the entire class. Follow Up:-students will be given the home work assignment of finding a feature article and labeling the elements. After labeling the elements they must answer the following question in 5 to 10 sentences “What is this article about?”-Tomorrow’s lesson
Do you believe people actualy get paid to come up with crap like that?
On the positive note I did win a prize from what seems to be the lone functioning innovative software company for real teachers, Tech4Learning. I did get to see again nice guy Ryan Sullivan from Dell, whose sister's Lindsay's band Big City Bright Lights is performing at Union Hall (Union Street and 5th Ave, Brooklyn) tonight (I might actually leave my room and my laptop and go!) There was also my one man cheering section Mark Gura there to give my blog a plug as well as a middle school teacher named Darlynn who was, as they say, "Easy on the eyes."