"Long after they've forgotten what you taught them, they will remember how you treated them."
-author unknown

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Technology to Enhance Learning and Communication

I apologize for the tardy and delayed entry.  I mentioned in last week's newsletter that this post would occur.  Well, here it is.  Better late than never.

I have written about technology use at OHMS before.  But tonight is our Technology Showcase where students and staff are "showing" off the many ways we use technology to enhance learning here at OHMS.  So this blog topic seemed entirely appropriate.  We feel strongly that technology is a tool.  It is not the teacher or the sole source of information.  Teachers and their years of experience and training are not replaceable.  We realize that the public has made a real commitment to technology in RSU#4 and specifically at OHMS. We hope that the showcase will demonstrate that we take this commitment seriously and that these machines are serious tools designed to enhance the educational experience of our students. 

Technology is also used daily to improve students' skill levels.  There are many quality sites that provide exercises and data collection around very specific academic topics (adding fractions).  Teachers are able to use these sites as resources that have a high interest level for the students and have real educational value.

Giving students a voice and some choice around their academics is a hallmark of both the middle school approach and that of proficiency-based education (customized learning).  The student laptops and the web provide multiple ways for students to access information and ways to demonstrate knowledge.  Blogs, websites, Prezis, Keynotes, Google Docs, charts and graphs are just some examples of interesting and engaging ways students can show what they know.  

Collecting and managing the volumes of data is no small feat.  One that is not possible without the right technologies.  Infinite Campus allows for some of that collection and also allows parents access to grades, attendance and lunch counts, all at your convenience.  We encourage parents to check on their child's progress regularly through this technology.

Our technology takes many forms and is used in many ways.  Increased communication is an important goal for us.   This blog for instance is an attempt to inform our community of OHMS programs and systems, why we do things the way we do and the research behind these decisions.  We also deliver the newsletter via email saving paper and human resources.  Our report cards are now available on line.  OHMS teachers have "teacher sites" that allow parents 24/7 access to information and resources specific to a child's class.  Our school site (www.oakhillmiddle.info) has links to these teacher sites as well as copies of newsletters and my once a month school board report.  We hope to add virtual tours of the school soon for those kids transferring in the middle of the year or summer.

Finally, we at OHMS would like to thank Mrs. Audet and her tech team for all the support they provide the students and staff.  Tech Day and the Technology Showcase would not be possible without their support.