Thursday, September 29, 2011

1st Month in Surprises

Students and staff have undergone changes in education like never seen before in Zeeland,  Thanks to the generous support of many citizens in the community, our schools have the ability to become an educational model for the entire nation.  It has been a tremendous challenge for many teachers to rethink their traditional delivery method.  But one that my colleagues and I have embraced. 

How do I know this to be true?  I certainly can't physically stop in and see teachers doing their jobs all day.  But I can tell from conversations that now take place before school, at lunch time, during plan hours, and after school between staff members.  There is a renewed sense of collaboration between teachers to share lesson ideas, problem solve technical questions, and explore new possibilities.  Even listening to and watching students create projects, take notes, and give instant feedback through in-class polls is exciting to see from an educators stand point. 

Zeeland's IPad initiative has great promise to raise the bar educationally in many ways.  But there have been hidden bonuses that I never really thought about when the bond issue passed.  Students are much more patient than I can ever remember.  As with any technology, there are instances when glitches occur and things don't quite work the way you hoped.  My students have been wonderful with learning patience and understanding that some things are beyond our control and we just adjust the best we can.  I have also witnessed many acts of student kindness towards their classmates.  Students are very willing to help each other with technical issues like getting reconnected to the WiFi and how to best use Apps like PDF Notes for Free.  Seeing students willingly help out their classmates that might be less tech savvy and could fall behind in class demonstrates some of the finest qualities of human kindness and selflessness. 

It is hard to put a price on developing these qualities and they certainly don't get measured on standardized assessments.  But they are priceless in my view and make each day just a little but better.

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