Saturday, January 19, 2008

Apple Leadership Training Proved Helpful

Apple provided a "Classrooms for the Future" leadership training to teams from Keystone, Deer Lakes, and Laurel High Schools at IU 4 in Grove City this week. KHS principal Vicky Walters, CFF coach Sharon Geary, CFF teacher Marlene Smith, and I attended the two-day presentation. The Apple trainer, Eric Erb, is a former teacher and administrator from the Kutztown Area School District and had many words of wisdom to share from his own experiences in leading a one-to-one laptop initiative.

Since all of the workshop participants are new Mac users, Eric spent some invaluable time teaching us the ins and outs of the Mac operating system. I am now much more comfortable using my Macbook and am impressed with its many unique features. The "text-to-speech" capability is one that I'm eager to share with teachers of students with low-level reading ability. After simply enabling the feature and highlighting text, students can read the words themselves and receive reinforcement as the text is read aloud simultaneously by the computer!

In addition to the "out-of-the-box" tips, we discussed topics such as 21st Century skills, achievement, "lighthouses and barriers" to technology integration, development of action plans, and the ACOT (Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow) stages of teacher development with educational technology. Apple research shows that teachers progress through five stages as they use techology in their classrooms: Entry, Adoption, Adaptation, Appropriation, and Innovation.

Entry--Teachers are aware of the technology but use it only when absolutely necessary.

Adoption--Teachers apply basic technology tools to their traditional teaching styles. Their students may type in a word processor instead of writing a report by hand or do Internet instead of library research.

Adaptation--Teachers design lessons that require students to employ multiple types of technology to learn a variety of topics.

Appropriation--Teachers look forward to learning and applying new technologies in their classrooms. They use technology to invent new ways to engage their students in learning.

Innovation--Teachers use technology to transform the classroom learning environment. Technology is central to all classroom activities.

We also explored a variety of Web 2.0 sites that invite collaboration and sharing, including:

In addition, we created accounts to the Apple Learning Interchange, where teachers can post lesson plans and other resources to share with their peers. We also explored the rich resources available through iTunes University--and no, you don't need an iPod to use them!

The next step in our CFF adventure is our Apple "out-of-the-box" training scheduled for next week. We will host CFF teachers from Sharon City and Smethport for two days of instruction with Apple trainer Chris Lickteig from Austin, Texas.

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