Middle Years Laptop PIlot in Mpls. Public

The Minneapolis Public Schools announce the Middle Years Laptop Pilot. Basically, selected teachers will get a MacBook, training and a mobile cart of 20 MacBooks. I applied. I had my application written the next day and spent the next week revising.

Today, I got a forwarded email from the other teacher at my school who applied (we can get two carts). The email said that the carts, sans laptops will arrive this week. The laptops will arrive a week later. I haven't gotten an email saying that I've been selected, but, fingers crossed, I will be.

So, here's my application:

Middle Years Laptop Pilot: Lead Teacher Application

1. Lead Teacher information

[excluded due to personal information]

2. In 3-7 sentences, write about your background and experience, highlighting any key information that relates to this project:

The Middle Years Laptop Pilot fits perfectly with my background, experience, and my beliefs in education and technology. In the past, I was part of a teaching team involved in the Technology Integration Leadership Team Grant. I have also taken on the role of Site Technologist and eCompass Coordinator. When the district asked for early adaptors for Activotes and Activexpressions, I jumped at the opportunity and use them regularly in my classroom. In addition to having students learn wit technology, I teach technology. I am an adjunct professor co-teaching Technology in the Classroom at Saint Mary’s University and just completed a 5-week TAP cluster at Cityview covering Math and Literacy with Technology. All of these experiences make me believe that I am an ideal candidate for the Lead Teacher in the Middle Years Laptop Pilot and I am eager to put this technology into the hands of my AVID students on a daily basis and to teach other teachers on how to integrate technology into their classrooms.

3. Describe three ways in which you are currently integrating technology into your curriculum
  • When Internet access is available to students, I have them complete work using Edmodo.com. They post assignments, have discussions and get instructions for other internet-based activities. We also have used sites such as Read Write Think and Free Rice to build academic skills. To provide Internet access, I have worked out a schedule with the media specialist to use the media lab with my 7th grade AVID students.
  • On a regular basis, I use various technology tools in my classroom. I have used Wordle for brainstorming, The Week In Rap & Channel One News for current events, online boggle for vocabulary, Activexpressions for feedback and assessment, Garageband and Google Voice for recording interviews, and many others. I also use the interactive whiteboard in my room in teaching lessons. Lastly, in my classroom we the student and teacher microphones for teacher and student presentations.
  • In planning and sharing lessons and curriculum, I use my teacher blog and Twitter to supplement what is happening in my classroom. I also use Google and similar sites to find additional resources for the students. With my online connections, I’ve connected with an AVID classroom in Florida that was looking for help with curriculum issues in their classroom. I am also a regular user of RSS (Google Reader) to track various blogs from teachers in Minneapolis and across the globe. These have helped immensely in my teaching and learning. I believe that these resources are invaluable for teachers and that they are resources teachers should be using daily.

4. Describe three ways that you plan to use laptops to impact student learning.
  • I’m a huge proponent of portfolios. However, right now, student portfolios are just filefolders in a crate. In this pilot, I would have each of my students create an eFolioMN site where they will upload examples of work (including document camera pictures of hard copies), update a blog that includes reflection and create their own digital content. This is especially interesting to me as I have AVID students for up to three years starting in 6th grade. Being able to track student progress and have students track their own learning is an outstanding way to see the impact of technology on student learning and academic improvement.
  • Adding a class blog where students can post and comment will assist with student engagement and understanding. I will have them respond to prompts posted by the teacher. I will also have them add their own posts for others to comment on. This will lead to higher student achievement and engagement and provide an additional format for both student and teacher assessment.
  • Using MacBooks in this pilot is very exciting. The included applications will lead to increased opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of concepts. We’ll use Garageband to record final presentations, iPhoto to document written work, classroom activities and field trips, and iMovie as another option for showing what they learn. We’ll use iTunes, for sharing student-created content. We could even have students creating Flipcharts or Powerpoint presentations to teach lessons. All these applications open up doors for learning, sharing, demonstrating, and assessing that are not possible without the Middle Years Laptop Pilot.