There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new-age technology, but if the teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.
—Former US Senator Nancy Kassebaum
The goal of Project IGNITE is to seek opportunities to support and develop the work that educators are doing in the classroom by creating a network experience of the best practices happening in classrooms in Vermont every day.
Thirty educators from around the state were recognized for their innovative and transformative use of technology in the classroom. (To view a slide from the recognition luncheon and to read Ms. Roberge’s explanation of some of her work with technology this year, please click here.)
“This year has been a big year for Colchester Middle School,” Ms. Roberge said. “All seventh and eighth graders have been working with Google Apps for Education, and it is going well! This has been a great opportunity for students to use the most up-to-date and current technologies that 65 percent of colleges and many business models follow. The entire country of Malaysia, as well as many Vermont schools right in Chittenden County, have moved to this model. The best part is that all of these tools are free to schools! This makes the work we do a sustainable plan.
“Students are thrilled to have these opportunities in the classroom and a chance to collaborate with peers in real time with authentic work experiences,” Ms. Roberge continued. “This year, I have helped teachers in language arts, social studies, math, and science—as well as special educators and the library/media specialist—explore the use of these tools as an embedded part of their curriculum. Students have created their own websites demonstrating their research and exploration of real or hoax sites, collaborated on book reviews, developed and maintained their own blogs with regular posting and commenting experiences, and have linked several technology projects (videos, glogs, prezis, spreadsheets, and presentations) that they’ve created as part of content-specific tasks aligned with the Common Core. Students enjoy being able to archive and return to their digital work as well as share with others outside of the classroom walls.”
This summer, Ms. Roberge and some of her CMS colleagues will complete Part II of the Google Tools for School course. “I am very excited to go deeper into the resources and plan for even more rigorous experiences for students,” she said.
The Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017’s pathways include Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway B: Technology Infrastructure and Integration; and Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls. There is a lot of forward momentum in our schools on these fronts. Furthermore, the Vermont Technology Grade Expectations outline major focus areas in education, and among them are digital citizenship and technology operations and concepts, so this work is particularly meaningful and relevant. (To read our January 21 CSD Spotlight post discussing other efforts in technology integration around Colchester School District, please click here.)
Congratulations, Ms. Roberge and Colchester Middle School!
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