Monday, September 1, 2008

Another Year Off to a Good Start!

My 30th year at Keystone has gotten off to a busy (as indicated by my lack of blogging) but smooth start as far as first weeks of school go! Tony, our technician, worked diligently this summer to get our technology in shape for the new year.

What have we been up to so far in 2008-09?

  • The 7th and 8th grade academic teachers and our health teachers attended a full-day Smartboard training presented by Erica Peck of SmartEd. The teachers are very excited about this new technology and have already begun designing lessons for their interactive boards. My husband, beginning his 35th year teaching social studies classes, says he'll have to stick around another ten years to master his new equipment. (I think he's kidding!)

  • Seventh graders, new students, and their parents were introduced to the technology available at KHS at their "Back-to-School" Night. Edline activation codes were distributed to parents so they can monitor their students' grades on the Web. Students were given the codes for families who couldn't attend, so parents who haven't received this information should have a talk with their children! Feel free to contact the Tech Department at Extension 145 for help.

  • Our 08-09 "Classrooms for the Future" budget was revised and submitted to PDE. The CFF teachers opted to add more Macbooks to our existing carts to accommodate large classes rather than purchasing another cart with a small number of laptops. We budgeted for equipment to outfit the eight core classrooms in Grades 11 and 12 with projectors, whiteboards, teacher Macbooks, wireless access points, printers, and speakers. We will purchase 11 additional student laptops as well. We now must wait for our "substantially approvable" letter from PDE before we can cut purchase orders.

  • Several elementary teachers have updated their classroom web sites for the new year, and 4th grade teacher Kate Schoeppner has created a new one. If your children are in any of these classrooms, we encourage you to subscribe to the web sites by email. Just look for the link on the web sites. You will then automatically get updates by email when the teachers update their sites.

  • All faculty and staff received instructions for subscribing by email to this "Keystone Tech Talk" blog. They will receive blog updates as well as links to any sites I bookmark in my Delicious account. Parents, students, and community members--and you--are encouraged to subscribe as well. Just click on the "Subscribe by Email" link on the upper right of the page. You will receive links for educational web sites (and sometimes some other interesting sites) by email!

  • Teachers and students have already begun using technology in new ways. Ninth grade English teacher Sandi McElravy, for example, has historically assigned students to introduce themselves to her and their peers by making collages on posterboard. This year, though, with CFF Macbooks on hand, Sandi's students are making digital scrapbooks instead! CFF coach Sharon Geary spent several days instructing the English classes on the Mac operating system and software. I can't wait to see the finished assignments.

We've quite a list of accomplishments after one week of school. I'm sure this week will be every bit as productive.

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