I love this time of year. There is an excitedment about starting again, starting fresh. There is an opportunity to learn from prior experience and yet forging a new path while letting go of things that didn’t go quite as expected the previous year.
I’ve been thinking a great deal about the many myriad projects we have going. I worry that we will dilute the important stuff with the nitty-gritty. And yet I know standing still isn’t an option. Part of what makes my team the best at what we do is that we are always contemplating what is over the top of the hill and just beyond the sight line.
While we are not always the very first to implement a new idea (I’ve had plenty of the bleeding edge, thank you very much), I do believe that our thinking around enterprise deployment of any project is unique.
As we start a new year in Forsyth County Schools, we’re focused on a these big ideas:
- Articulating the ways in which BYOT fits into the spectrum of technology uses
- Incorporating the 4 C’s (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication and Critical Thinking)
- Expanding New Opportunities for Better Learning Environments (NOBLE) to an ever increasing number of classrooms
Our focus on transformational uses of technology in the classroom is not new but this year I’m renewing a commitment to building increased awareness of the spectrum. I’ll be asking our sixteen new Instructional Technology Specialists and Media Specialists to join me on a school-wide walk through to become more confident in identifying Literacy, Adapting and Transforming.
And that’s one of the things we have to work really hard at keeping going – our institutional history and organizational knowledge. When we have sixteen new folks in one year, we have a great deal of induction to do. I rely on Kathy Adkins to be sure we are sharing all the right information with our new folks. She does a great job in her blog, Friday Flash.
As our BYOT program has grown in depth and breath one goal has been to think carefully about the products we use. We are more conscious of making sure things work on mobile platforms and on smaller screens. So this year we are launching a set of tools (website designed by the very talented Kathy Adkins) that help support the 4 C’s and BYOT. Tim Clark talks about Teaching the 4 C’s in BYOT in his blog, the BYOT Network.
And I’m very proud of the work we are doing to break through to new ways of thinking of online learning. We have been considering the 3D virtual worlds for some time and even experimented with Second Life for a bit. However, now that we’ve found the Open Sim platform, we’ve really found an incredible way to make this work for us. Steve Mashburn blogs about our first efforts with NOBLE and mentions the many ways in which it empowers kids.
So though we are continuing the work we’ve started previously, we are also refining our efforts and refocusing on those that have the most impact and ability to transform teaching and learning and that is bold going where no one has gone before!