Come See Us!

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death-Albert Einstein

group pic collageIn a recent post, I talked about raising the bar with iPads.  One of the best ways to raise the bar in education is having teachers learn from each other.  By seeing what is possible…truly possible, one can return to the classroom with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.  It is one thing to hear about something, but it is another thing entirely to see it in action.

My school, Drayton Hall Elementary, is an Apple Distinguished School.  We host visitors from all over.  These site visits have been very beneficial to those who have come.  Apple is hosting 2 such tours at Drayton Hall in the coming weeks.  The first one is March 28th and there is still space available on that tour.  The second tour is April 16th from 8:30-11:30. Click here to see the invitation. Drayton Hall April 16th

I’ve talked about the importance of kids learning from each other and it’s no less important for adults to continue to learn as well.  We have had teachers, administrators, board members and technology folks visit.  They have seen 1:1 iPads across all grade levels and across the curriculum working to personalize learning for our students.  When you can come away from a learning experience as a teacher and take it back to your classroom, the ripple effect has begun…not just with your students, but with your colleagues and their work

Have you ever been to a workshop or professional development and walked away with a new idea?  It is an exciting feeling to try something new and fresh.  As an Apple Distinguished Educator, I am connected to some of the best educators in the world.  As they share what they do, I find myself raising my own expectations and in turn, raising the bar in my classroom.

Many of my readers live in other countries and I realize a site visit isn’t very realistic.  However, make a point to find a way to connect with other educators.  Twitter is a great place to build a professional learning network.  Teaching is hard enough…connecting and learning from others makes it worthwhile.

As we say in the South….y’all come!

Today, we will do exciting new things.  Let’s get to it!

We’ve Only Just Begun

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” -Walt Disney

Just beginningOne of the best gifts I received this holiday season was the notification from Apple that my school, Drayton Hall Elementary,  met all of the criteria for Apple Distinguished School.  The application was rigorous as was the competition.  We were thrilled to be awarded the distinction.  While many see awards like this as the culmination of hard work, I see it as just the beginning.

I’m pretty good at pushing boundaries.  When I was given the iPads back in January, 2011 as one of 3 pilot teachers for the entire school district, I really had no rules or expectations.  My only limitations were those created by my very own self.  Since I was given a class set of iPads, (thank goodness the district’s Ed Tech staff believed in kindergarten having 30 iPads!) I took full advantage of the opportunity and  looked beyond the “broadcast nature” of the iPad.  More than a presentation tool, my students fully interacted with the iPads.  In small groups, we found individual support opportunities that bolstered those students who were in the bottom tier.  As student engagement was instant, I looked for ways to incorporate the iPad into every aspect of our instructional day.  As the pilot moved beyond the 3 original classes, the staff at my school embraced the technology and zeroed in on the potential these devices hold.

While I know many schools are just getting iPads and perhaps aren’t able to fund them 1:1 at this time, I hope the teachers will continue to voice their desire for them.  The iPad is designed to be a one-user device.  The true power comes when each student holds his/her own iPad and is able to interact with it, work with materials on the child’s own level, and create and save on it.  Sharing, while perhaps necessary for a time, isn’t  ideal.  You can’t expect to see the results we are seeing at my school without a 1:1 implementation.  If you are unable to fund a whole school, find your early adopters on staff and let them have at it.  These people make things happen!

While my holidays are coming to a close next week, I’m excited about what the remaining 5 months of school hold.  With a new year beginning, let’s follow Walt Disney’s advice:  Quit talking and begin doing!  I’m proud of my school for earning the Apple Distinguished School honor.  This isn’t the end,  we’ve only just begun!

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