Area 66 Fall 2013 Semester in Review

What a semester!

When I took over as Technology Integrationist this semester, I started with the goal of promoting integration in three ways — instructional materials created by the tech staff for use by teachers, promote great example of successes teachers have had with technology and work in classrooms K-12 to assist in technology integration. With the semester coming to a close, I thought it would be nice to take a look back at what we’ve done.

Laptop Refresh

MacBookThis is the last year of our current deployment of MacBook laptops for staff and students 7-12. We are  in the process of trying to decide what device we would like to go with for the next cycle. In order to give teachers a voice, we decided to create a ‘traveling trunk’ and let teachers provide feedback. After trips to each elementary building, the middle school and the high school, we had 191 responses! Thank you to everyone that provided feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about each of the four models we looked at.

Area 66 Website update

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The Area 66 webpage was established as the home for technology staff development for the Westside Community Schools. Our goal is to provide resources and on-demand online training to faculty and staff.  To do this, Area 66 has developed the following:

Area 66 Declassified — In 2013 Paul Lindgren and Lynn Spady create a bi-weekly series called, “Area 66 Declassified” where we focus on two short (5 minute or less) topics that are we think will be of interest to teachers. We have continued it this semester and with about 29 episodes published over the past year, there are almost 60 technology tools featured! If you have ideas for topics you would like to see featured in future episodes, please email Matt Lee on FirstClass or at mlee@westside66.org.

Close Encounters — We also feature some of the great work our staff is already doing through highlighting them in our “Close Encounters” section. Here you will find short (less than 1 minute) clips of teachers talking about how they use technology in their classrooms. This is a great place to see examples of tech integration! Have you done something cool? Let us know – you could be the next close encounter!

From the Director — From time to time, Paul and I will also post our thoughts on technology integration, education or updates on Area 66 at our blog, “From the Director“. To date, we’ve talked about the SAMR Model, highlighted tools for deeper learning and published statistics about what the technology team did over the summer to get things prepared for the new school year.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to see how what we create gets used by teachers. It’s awesome to run into teachers who have watched an episode of declassified and then tried out a project in their classrooms. If you’ve had a success, please send me an email and I’ll feature you in our next close encounter!

WorldMap(Map of countries who have visited Area 66)

Our reach isn’t just limited to the Westside district though. According to our web statistics, Area 66 Declassified has been viewed in a total of 10 countries around the world! We’re approaching 3,000 web visits this semester which is incredible! Thank you to everyone who has checked out the site.

Staff Development Workshops

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During the fall semester, 8 workshops were held at Area 66, cover topics as such as Google Docs, Blackboard and the iWork suite. These sessions were intensive, 1 hour workshops designed to give teachers a safe space to try out new technology.

Many more smaller sessions were held for grade level teams and individual buildings. It was great fun getting out to each building in the district to work with teachers and students on technology projects. I’ve had a chance to work on everything from QR Codes to iPad apps, to creating green screen movies. As I look back over my logs, I see that I’ve driven over 450 miles this semester traveling from building to building! It’s well worth it!

If you are interested in having one of these for your team or building, contact Matt. The training schedule for the spring is posted. If you see something you find interesting, email Nancy Yount on FirstClass to register.

Stay tuned for more great things coming next semester and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Area_Sixty_Six

-Matt Lee