Monday, February 18, 2008

IT's Elementary!

I attended an excellent session at PETE and C last week entitled "IT's Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades." The presenters, Boni Hamilton and Trecie Warner, traveled from Centennial, CO, to share their tech integration experiences at Lois Lenski Elementary School. Lenski Elementary was named the elementary winner of the 2004 AASL Library Media Program of the Year, and was also touted as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U. S. Department of Education in 1999-2000.

Boni Hamilton is the author of a book also entitled IT's Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades, which I coincidentally purchased last fall. Inspired by the workshop, I began reading the book this past weekend.

Lenski Elementary's integration model includes collaboration among the classroom teacher, computer lab teacher, and librarian, who share responsibility for student success. The library and computer lab are "true extensions of the classroom."

Boni and Trecie shared their basic beliefs that make up the foundation of their successful technology integration program:
  • Integration is the classroom teacher's responsibility. The classroom teacher drives the instruction, while the computer lab teacher and librarian teach the skills to accomplish the classroom teacher's goals for his students. The classroom teacher knows his curriculum and the individual learning needs of his students. Without this input, they feel the technology instruction is meaningless.
  • Integration is integral to good instruction.
  • Collaboration improves both instruction and integration.
Stay tuned for more information from the book. Student work samples from Lenski Elementary are available online at http://tied2lenski.wikispaces.com/ and you can visit Lois Lenski Elementary School at http://lenski.littletonpublicschools.net/.

One quote from the book states beautifully what I've been trying to convey to Keystone teachers: "The integration of technology with classroom content instruction is a journey, not a race." Take baby steps.

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