Each summer, for the past 21 years, the Waterloo Region District School Board has run a 3 day self directed, professional development session focused on technology enabled learning. The event is known as CATC By the Water. CATC is our acronym for Computers Across the Curriculum. In our Board, CATC is part of the language and culture.
We had a lot of positive feedback on the framework provided to start the day, so I thought I would share a few highlights here.
Welcome to CATC Camp 2012 and a special welcome to new campers this year. You are in for a great 3 days. What makes this great is that you are in charge of your own learning and we have an awesome facilitator team to support you. I wanted to touch on a few points to provide a framework to help you keep your thinking and learning aligned with Board goals.
- a new strategic plan will be released in the fall, with technology enabled learning being one of the focuses
- one aspect of this is a large expansion of the formal Ministry of Education e-learning courses
- Ministry of Education blended courses will also be offered
- the Futures Forum project will be expanded in each secondary school
- we will embrace online writing projects in grade nine English programs
- a draft document outlining success steps for a 5 year digital learning plan has been initiated
What do we mean by technology enabled learning?
- technology as a natural part of the learning environment (not ‘over there’)
- usage to support and improve learning, not teaching technology for technology’s sake
- aligned use of technology with our main suite of products (blogs, wikis, GDocs, FBk, Twitter, YouTube, OSAPAC, Desire2Learn)
- instructional uses of technology that align with our identified 5 high yield strategies AND communication & collaboration
- consideration of the 4 any’s: anytime, anywhere, anything, anyone learning
- student engagement
- authentic audience
- consideration of TPack (Technology, Pedagogy and Content) – finding the sweet spot
To this end, the recently passed (June) Board budget included funds for mobile equipment for each school and additional classroom supports. We will establish a plan to address wifi in portables over the next 2 to 3 years, and start to address this need during the 2012/13 school year. Related internet and infrastructure upgrades are under way to support student learning and achievement.
Things for you to consider as you learn:
- familiarize yourself with the new Responsible Use Procedure (RUP)
- consider how you will role model ethical use of technology for your students
- determine how will you promote digital citizenship within your classroom
- now that we have wifi access in all school instructional areas, how will you leverage this in your classroom?
- how will you use both desktop and mobile devices available in your school?
- have you thought about taking advantage of BYOD?
Spend some time pondering possibilities. Thank you for being here. Have a fantastic learning experience.