Friday, December 9, 2011

Slate 2011

This past Tuesday and Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend SLATE (School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education).  Spending a couple days out of the building can create challenges for students and staff, however I appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with fellow Wisconsin educators and to sharpen my vision of technology integration in our school.

Skill Up
On Tuesday, I listened to Scott McLeod.  Mr. Mcleod is an Associate Professor of Education Leadership at the University of Kentucky.  He is responsible for co-creating the popular Shift Happens videos, and each time I read his blog, watch a video, or have the opportunity see him in person I am impressed with his ability to relate how the changes occurring outside of school should effect how we lead our schools.  Perhaps the point that resonated with me the most was we must develop skills valued in the economy students enter when they graduate.

Learning from Ashwaubenon's 1:1 and BYOD at New Berlin
The concept of 1:1 is not new.  I am sure many school districts in the state have either attempted or, at a minimum, had conversations about a 1:1 electronic device environment in their school.  Leaders from Aswaubenon shared their experiences implementing an initiative that provided all 9th and 10th graders with 3G enabled netbooks. The central point to Mr. Anderson, Mr, Lucius, and Ms. Rhude's presentation was that its not about the devices its about learning.  The project focused on applying their school's mission, communicating with key stakeholders throughout the process, and most importantly focusing on the learning opportunities these devices create.  I thought the use of 3G enabled machines was innovative and gave the district the best chance to provide the equity desired in a 1:1 program.  

Later in the afternoon, I listened to a contingent from New Berlin District.   A little over a year ago the district decided to open the school network to student's personal electronic devices.  This is an issue that many high school's will have to address in the coming years.  The discussion centered on properly preparing their district's infrastructure; shifting from an acceptable use to an appropriate use policy; and communicating the purpose of the project to students, teachers, parents, and staff.  Zach Solie, a sophomore, shared his positive experiences with the group.  Listening to Zach, I couldn't help but think of a statement made by Scott McLeod earlier in the day:  We need to stop preventing the potential of technology in our schools due to a fear or lack of understanding.  Stop penalizing 90% due to the action of 10%.   

What it does it mean for Cashton?
I am proud of the strides our district has made to support 21st century learning.  As an early adopting Google Apps district, I am confident that many of our students could have presented a workshop at SLATE titled "Google Apps from A Student's Perspective." Creating a  virtual zoo, a community of blogging students, and embedding Google Forms quizzes on classroom websites are just a couple of examples of how our students learn and collaborate. Being in the presence of strong leaders makes me want to be a better leader.  I owe it to the students of Cashton.

Oh, and I got a ton of ideas, models, tech-solutions, and apps to pass along to teachers.  Here is a short list of a few of my favorites:


  1. Thanks for the kind words, David, and for the great writeup of the conference. Please let me know how CASTLE and I can be of support to you!

  2. Thanks for sharing your summary of SLATE. There were so many great sessions and wish I could have attended them all. Sounds like the BYOD session was very helpful. Thanks for the mention of my presentation.