Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great beginning to a new school year.

The 2009-2010 O'Neill Public School year is underway in an overwhelmingly positive fashion. With nearly a week and a half of school complete, students and staff alike are already demonstrating the power of laptops in learning. Here are just a few of the many observed positive uses of technology so far at O'Neill High:

  • Several teachers are already producing podcasts for their kids to listen to/watch outside of class (
  • Digital textbooks with audio capabilities are being encouraged to be used in and out of many classes.
  • VoiceThreads are being created in Mr. Corkle's Science classes.
  • Comic Lifes are being created in Mrs. Troester and Mrs. Nordby's English classes for various writing outcomes.
  • Blogs are being created by Mr. Peterson's Digital Design students as professional portfolios to share their work throughout the semester.
  • Mrs. Gotschall is using Google docs with her students to collaboratively construct meaning.
  • 8th graders in Ag class chose to make an iMovie (on their own initiative) for a research project.
  • Mr. Hostert is using the "Places" feature in iPhoto and having students create visual flashcards of geographical cities and landmarks they learn about in JH Soc. Studies classes.
  • Angel courses and even extracurricular Groups are being created and enrolled in all over the school.
  • Connor Peterson put the entire year's school activities calendar into iCal format so that we don't have to enter each event individually on all our machines.
There are many, many more, but these are just a few of the positive uses that we have seen in Week One.

An area where we may need to work a bit harder is restricting our laptop use to educational uses only during the school day. Studyhalls seem to be the main time when students forget this very important guiding principle. If students have no academic assignments to work on, there are still many options for using the MacBooks other than social iChat, idle web-surfing, or playing games. Here is a link to some ideas of "Maximizing your MacBook's Potential". If none of these look enticing, do not forget about picking up a book and getting some independent reading time in. There is plenty of time for non-academic uses of your laptop outside of the regular school day.

Keep the 24/7 Learning coming!

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