Digital Doors was created as a place for me to blog and share resources that I think would be helpful for teachers integrating technology in meaningful ways in their classroom. My goal would be to write a blog post a week, but with my busy schedule, that doesn't happen. I write when I can and rely on nifty tools to help me share what I am finding when I don't have time to write.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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Setting Goals for A New School Year

As I am sure you either know or have been told, summers are busy times for teachers.  There are courses to take, plans to make, classrooms to decorate, and hopefully, at least a little bit of wonderful rest, relaxation and adventure.  I am not here to complain about that time I take planning and prepping for the new year. Sure it would be nice to be paid for that time, but somehow, being on your own time, gives you permission to think for yourself, try new things, learn what you want to learn.  I like that.  I also love that as a teacher, I get a chance to start new every year.  Even though it might be easier to do the same thing every year, that really rarely is a possibility with changing standards, changing needs etc.  The fact is, we have a new set of learners each year and they deserve a plan made to fit their specific needs.  All that being said, I have relished  the time to dig in and learn and try new things and get ready for a new year.

I have several goals for the new year.  Too many, really.  The needs are great, but I will need to prioritize some things and put the other ideas on hold for another year.  Here are some of my priorities for learning and sharing this year.
  • Planning to teach with technology : Looking at the big picture, having a goal or objective, backwards planning, these are all important pieces in designing the most powerful learning environment we can provide our students. I want to help teachers build a tool box with effective and engaging tools to use in teaching.  Supporting teachers as they learn to analyse these tools as resources for transforming their teaching practice is my goal.   I don't want the tool to be the target, but I also don't want it to be an extra add on.  My hope is that teachers  begin including technology as a part of their teaching strategy. A way to add value to or transform lessons in effective ways for students.  I want to help teachers start with their learning target and always consider technology as part of the path to meeting that target.  In order to do this, teachers need to be aware of many tools and be able to look at these tools open endedly so that they can see the possibilities and build lessons that are not necessarily pie in the sky, but lessons that just work for students and teachers.  

  • Implementing the Common Core with Technology:
    We are all digging in and trying to get a grasp on what the Common Core State Standards mean to our teaching design and strategies.  It does not take long to notice the many references to technology, research, presentation and digital media throughout the Common Core.  Technology is definitely not an added extra, but an integral part of how students learn and successfully meet their goals to be Career and College Ready.  I hope to help teachers begin find ways to build on the technology skills students will need to be successful, not just in taking tests, but also in communicating, collaborating, creating and critical thinking. 

  • Getting Started with Google Apps for Education:
    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am giddy with excitement about how Google Apps for Education can be a game changer in our district.  I hope to be able to help teachers build that culture of sharing and collaboration through the use of these powerful tools. 

  • The Power of Blogging:
    Dean Shareski states in his article in the Huffington Post that the best way to make teachers better is for teachers to blog.  Blogging provides opportunities for you to become a reflective practitioner.  Blogging is not new to me, but I have to admit, that the last few years, my professional blog has taken a hit due to a barrage of other responsibilities.  Well, the responsibilities have not gone away, but neither has my belief gone away that blogging is a powerful learning tool for teachers and that it does indeed, help to make better teachers.  So, this year, I am committing to blogging regularly.  And not only do I think that it is a powerful tool for teachers, it is also powerful for our students and even our administrators.  So beyond my commitment to blog myself this year, I also plan on being a blogging ambassador for all learners in our schools.  
Stay tuned to future and frequent blogs where I will continue to share more about these goals and the opportunities I am planning on providing to help support you throughout the year.  

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