So Monday and Tuesday I cancelled class and took my students instead to local schools. I am so thankful to the relationships that I have with local educators to be able to do it. I have to say arranging these kinds of group visits -gosh logistically it is hard! but totally worth it.
Students spent their class time during the week attending a school and observing how they were using technology. On Monday we went to Norman North High School and Tuesday we attended the Showcase at Arthur Elementary in Oklahoma School. Arthur is a Connect Ed School who received a grant from Apple so all students were given an iPad and teachers received a ton of Professional development.
Here are some pictures and some of of what the students did..
About 20 students attended.
Peter Leisenfeld spent a lot of time talking to students about preparing for their jobs.
The Norman North faculty and staff were amazing in supporting our students. Several teachers took time out of their day to talk to us including the librarians and Principal Dr. Pete Leisenfeld.
On Tuesday, we took a group to Arthur Elementary – This a ConnectED School.
Students were proud to show us their work.
Principal Dr. Rhonda Schroeder took time throughout the day to talk to students to both get feedback and share her leadership philosophy.
The special education team took time to talk to your our special education students during her prep time.
Carrie Price, a current graduate student in our ILAC program, taught how to create presentations in Keynote using shapes. Something I had just seen THIS week in the Apple Teacher newsletter. They are doing things quickly there.
So why is this sooooo important?
I am finding more and more that we need to get our students into schools more. By attending as a large group, yes, we don’t get an authentic experience but we get a shared experience that we can talk about for the rest of the semester.
My students got to see schools in two different stages of technology integration. Norman is starting a new initiative, Arthur is 3 years in – those are very different an provide great opportunities for discussion and comparison.
The most meaningful interactions were between teachers and administrators with students. They got to see different philosophies and what they shared gave “street cred” to my curricular choices. This is especially true when students saw the different technologies we use in use in the classroom.
So what does it do for me as a professor?
Spending more time in classrooms helps me to keep my technology skills limber and relevant. Let me give a great example. Many of the teachers were using Classroom app to control the iPads at Arthur. When Classroom first came out, it was not compatible with how we do not manage our iPads. So Barry took a few minutes to show me the update and get me up to speed. I am changing what I am teaching next week to demo this in class. It is also really important for students to see that I have relationships with teachers and administrators. I work really hard to make sure what we do is relevant and updated and I think this visit helps to establish that..
I really wish I could spend more time in schools. I have often been jealous of friends who work at PDS schools and get to embed in the K-12 environment. Interacting with teachers every day, is a lot of fun and we need to do more of it in Higher education.