Digital Learning Environment

The purpose of this digital learning environment inventory is to take stock of what hardware, software, and online technology tools form the Jordan digital learning environment for our students. By looking at what we have, we can begin to evaluate how we are using it, and how it is/can help our students to become more globally and technologically literate citizens of the world.

 

My library

Hardware: 15 desktop imac computers purchased in 2012 running OS X, 25 macbook air laptops purchased in 2013 running OS X, teacher presentation computer connected to sound system and digital projector. Teacher station also includes document camera. The library also offers checkout of headphones and microphones for recording and listening to audio and video.

 

Online Resources: district-wide subscription to databases from EBSCO, Worldbook, and Safari Montage along with high quality free web resources organized by subject area and grade level. The library website, designed by me, http://www.jordanmslibrary.org, including subject area webliographies to high quality online resources for research, access to databases, a collection of over 400 e-books aligned with the curriculum and for pleasure reading, and one of the largest collections of LibGuides in the country.

 

Computer Lab

Hardware: 30 desktop computers purchased in 2013 running Windows 7. Teacher station connected to digital projector and small speakers

 

Media Lab

Three computers running Adobe Production Premium, including Adobe Premiere and After-Effects for video editing; a green screen room and multiple digital camcorders for filming. This is primarily used by the leadership students to produce the biweekly video bulletin.

 

Classrooms

Each classroom on site has a teacher laptop connected to a digital projector and built in sound system, as well as a document camera. Most classrooms also have document cameras.

 

School-wide

Internet access is loosely regulated by a filter at the district level. Students can access youtube, but only parts of it. Google apps are used district-wide, so students can use those to share documents and collaborate on presentations and projects. Very little is blocked by the district filter other than pornography and other obscene and hateful materials. The district relies primarily on teachers and other adults on campus to teach students what is and is not appropriate to access on school computers.

 

Every student and teacher computer is loaded with Apple OS X, Google Earth, Basic video editing software (iMovie), Audacity for basic audio editing and recording, as well as standard Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Excel.

 

The school uses Schoology to manage their school and teacher websites, as well as for learning management. We also have the Infinite Campus student information system, which is now only used for attendance and maintenance of students records, including grading.

 

  1. How does your school make use of school and/or teacher websites?

Because we use Schoology, every teacher is provided with a preloaded online presence for each of their classes that their students are automatically given access to. Because schoology pulls data from Infinite Campus and prepopulates the system with a personal website for every teacher as well as a course website for every class they teach, teachers who are not required to have any other web, although it is encouraged, but are required to use schoology to post assignments, share information about their classes, posting assignments, turning in assignments, digital document and photo storage, and optionally also to communicate with parents about upcoming events and projects.

 

  1. How are you currently utilizing technology for learning?

This year I have included in my literacy promotion efforts the purchase of a much larger collection of ebooks and am working on adding digital audiobooks as well, transitioning to a new vendor, Overdrive, which is more familiar to my students and their parents, and much easier to use. These digital books and audiobooks are being utilized as support for lower readers, especially the audiobooks, but also for students who simply enjoy listening to their books or reading online or on a device.

 

Most of my library website is dedicated to the dual purposes of library services to the students: Information Literacy/Research and Reading/Literacy promotion. I create, and have students create subject website lists, which are guides to high quality online resources on a given subject, which are then made available to other students to assist with research. I also pull digital media and presentation tools that I find valuable and make them available to the students through the library website. And of course I provide access to the main database subscriptions, as well as providing access to the public library databases through our website.

 

I plan to use the Library class on Schoology, to which every student in the school belongs, to promote library events and collections, and to facilitate discussions about books, reading, research, and more. I will also continue to develop the library website, and, with any luck, help us to transition to using OverDrive for our digital collections. I also use GoodReads with students and other staff members to get students involved in the world of literary criticism online, and to help them see that I and other adults on campus are readers as well.

 

  1. From the list of global e-learning sites included below, which are available and which sites are blocked by your firewall? The only sites that you’re required to explore are listed here, but feel free to look at/comment on others on the list that I have attached.  Please reserve time to explore these sites and process  what they have to offer.
    1. Skype    www.skype.com
    2. iEARN   www. iearn.org
    3. ConnectAllSchools   http://www.connectallschools.org
    4. Peace Corps Speakers Match   http://wws.peacecorps.gov/wws/speakersmatch/
    5. ePals  http://www.epals.com
    6. Global Nomads Group www.gng.org
    7. Omprakash  http://www.omprakash.org/about
    8. Primary Source   www.primarysource.org
    9. Edutopia  http://www.edutopia.org
    10. Outreach World http://www.outreachworld.org
    11. The UN Works  http://www.un.org/works/
    12. Global Education Conference  http://www.globaleducationconference.com
    13. Online Newspapers  http://www.onlinenewspapers.com

None of these sites are blocked.

 

  1. What sites and tools are colleagues in your building using?

 

At this point, the only site I know that all of my colleagues are using is Schoology. Because I am new, I do not know if teachers are using any of the Global Education sites listed above.  Teachers do make frequent use of document cameras, both to share and critique student work, but also as a grading tool, as mentioned above. And all of the teachers are using their digital projectors, both to show powerpoints and prezis of their own lectures, as well as for students to use for student project presentations. Various teachers use various different sites. Use of subscription databases is better at this site than at my previous school, especially for research projects and debates.

 

  1. Is there a system for evaluating student technology literacy in your school? If so, how effective or helpful have you found the assessment?

No, there is not, beyond what I do very informally every year with the 6th graders.

 

  1. Gather suggestions from students on their ideas for integrating technology into their learning.
  • Allow students to use personal devices such as cell phones, ipod touch, tablets, and laptops in the classroom.
  • Give every student an iPad
  • Give every student a Kindle
  • Get rid of the internet filter
  • Allow students to use social networks like facebook for school-related tasks and to collaborate with other students

 

  1. What tools that are not presently available, would help to achieve district objectives?

At this point, as you can see, the tools, especially the hardware, is not really the issue. It is getting teacher buy-in and providing them with ideas for how the technology tools can be used to help their students learn in new ways, rather than just using technology as a substitute method of accomplishing the same tasks they once accomplished on paper.

 

 

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