Posts Tagged ‘GAMEplan’

This GAME plan process has taught me a lot. Ironically, it’s the things that I didn’t like about the process that seems to be the strongest take away lessons for me. Goal setting is an important professional skill. But I naturally set goals for myself, and didn’t need a formal structure to help with that. I’m also pretty reflective, so writing down my thoughts each week was simply to share my thoughts with others, not for my own learning. Comments from others were sometimes valuable. Most of the time, they were just affirmations of my thoughts. What I really learned through this process was that I didn’t like doing something that felt disconnected from the rest of our curriculum. I also didn’t like having to do an additional task beyond the regular workload of other courses. It felt burdensome. As I shared last week, I’ve begun to use this experience to look at the tasks I ask students to complete. Clearly, there are some assignments that I could be more clear about how they fit into our larger curriculum. I recall Marzano talking about students needing clear learning targets. They need to know the purpose of the activities, not just the directions. Also, I recognize that middle school students need more direction in how to give both affirmations and feedback to other students in a way that furthers the conversation, not just repeats what was said by the first student.

Other reflections specific to the goals I set in my GAME Plan:
• Our building desperately needs a long-term plan for technology. I might be uniquely positioned to help create that vision. That vision needs to include both expanding the technology that is available for student use and providing teachers with exposure to new ideas regarding teaching and learning in the 21st century.
• Students are hungry for new ways of learning. In a world that is rapidly changing, school has become a constant monotonous process of reading and writing. They are hungry not specifically for technology, but for the diversity in learning structures and processes that technology can bring. They want to demonstrate their learning in more ways than just writing and speaking. They want to be creative and expressive.

Despite my frustrations with this GAME plan process, it has helped build my confidence in just jumping in and trying new things with students. Moodle and Google Apps are now regular tools in our classroom. I’ll be rolling out Diigo in the next few months. As I begin to use more and more of these tools, they become easier and easier to implement. As the learning curve flattens, the speed of implementation quickens. This is exciting for both me and my students.

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Small Steps Towards Long Term Goals

Normally, I’m a digger. That is, I quick to pick up an shovel and dig into projects. The unfortunately things about diggers is they can only hold so many shovels at once. Although I designed my action plan around topics that are very important to me, their implementation will likely take most of the school year. Perhaps, I should have choose goals more closely aligned with what I’m already working on, instead of things I plan to achieve in the future.

In terms of becoming a technology leader and visionary for my building, I’ve taken a few meaningful steps. I’ve had several conversations with my principle this week about how to best refresh our dying computer lab. There was clearly a lack of foresight, so we’ve been caught financially unprepared (at a time when money is already tight). Although we’ve find a short term solution, I’ve tried to emphasis the need to shift to long term planning. I have also tried to put forth the idea that our long term goals need to not only consider how to better maintain our current technology infrastructure, but we also need to figure out how to expand our infrastructure to make more computers available to students in classrooms (not just labs).

I’ve also created a new blog Technology for Enhancing Student Learning. I haven’t posted anything yet, but my vision is to use this blog to collect and share tools for teachers to use with students or tools for students. A colleague of mine already has a blog about improving teacher’s use of technology. Personally, I’m more passionate about shifting the conversation from what are we as teachers doing with technology and focusing more on what can students do with technology that will improve their learning. I realize this vision may not be unique. There are a lot of Ed Tech blogs out there. But having a place to collect the best or most worthwhile tools that I hear about seem like a valuable opportunity for me personally. If no one follows by blog, it won’t really matter. But I hope that some of my colleagues might. I suppose this action step actually relates to both my goal to be a tech leader and my goal to identify and incorporate Web 2.0 tools into my curriculum each quarter.

Honestly, both of these steps seem pretty minimal. I probably should have focused on assessment since we’re in the middle of switching to standards based grading practices. We also have a new online assessment data system that I’m trying to learn. But I have to do those things either way. I’d really prefer my GAME plan to focus on the areas I want to grow, but may not have outside forces pushing me.

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