Coordinator of Quality Outcomes
Hopkins Middle School
I’d like to start by hearing a little bit about your personal teaching philosophy.
My teaching philosophy was definitely student-centered. I believe that every student has the ability to learn and every student learns differently. When I was teaching, I used different teaching strategies to engage students… a lot of simulation work so students could see how the concepts we were learning could be applied to real-life.
So when you started using DyKnow Vision and Monitor, did the products fit nicely into your existing teaching philosophy?
Yes, I used DyKnow Vision every day. The philosophy stayed the same but the world was really opened up after [Hopkins Middle/High School] started the one-to-one (1:1) computing program. My lesson plans completely changed after that because I wanted to figure out a way to incorporate the infinite wealth of information available, and tailor the lessons to be more powerful and student-centered.
Tell me how your lessons changed.
Before we got the computers and DyKnow’s software, it was really cumbersome to schedule a lab and figure out when to use those resources. Because of that, the curriculum only focused on one or two big open-ended projects. Now, we can do several smaller but more powerful projects throughout the semester.
You said early that you used DyKnow Monitor and DyKnow Vision every day in your classes. Did the software play an important role in why, or how, you crafted your new lessons?
Yes and no. When you start a 1:1 program, you have to be willing to change your curriculum and your lessons. You can’t effectively incorporate the computers if you plan to use the exact same lessons you did before you had computers full-time. So from that aspect, no, DyKnow was not the reason why I changed my lessons. But from another point, yes, DyKnow did play an important role how I changed them. After I saw the capabilities of the software, I had many ideas for how I could use it in the classroom.
Tell me about how you used it. What were some of your favorite features?
I really liked the embed a web page feature. Then the students had the URL if they printed out the slides. I also really liked the Polling feature. But the feature that changed my classroom was the panel management. I could “collect” bell-ringers without the students knowing for a credit no credit grade, and being able to pass out and collect assignments through the software made my classroom nearly paperless!
So you mentioned you have a new position this year and that the job is actually new to the district as well. Tell me about it and how it came to be created. How do you hope to impact student achievement in your new position?
Yes, the Coordinator of Quality Outcomes was a position created to help students and be a “go-between” for students, staff, and parents in the community. We are trying to stay away from the “Dean” title because that has major disciplinary connotations to the title. As CQO I will be focused on creating relationships with all students in the 6th and 7th grade and developing Educational Plans when necessary. A large part of the job will be keeping parents connected to what goes on in the building so there will be a lot of parent contacts made throughout the year. I hope to impact student achievement by being in a “mentor” role with them and being there to prevent loss of credit for students at risk of failing.
Well congratulations on the new job! I like to close out with some advice. What advice would you give administrators who are apprehensive about pursuing a 1:1 program and what advice would you give teachers?
To administrators: TECH COACH! If you go 1:1, you will need to have some type of constant professional development. In our district the tech coach was helpful in that he/she would be able to jump into a classroom on a moment’s notice for those teachers who were the “go-getters” and would run into snags with the new technology. They also provide after school PD for teachers who want to see how it all works and fit with their lesson plans before diving in. This will help the implementation process run much better.
To Teachers: Try new things! In our constant world of changing technology the best thing we can do for students is to learn with them. If there is a new piece of classroom technology, try using it in a lesson. Start small. One lesson. If it goes well try it in another lesson. Ask for help from peers and probably the best thing we can do as teachers is ask our students for help with the technology! What a great way to include students. Chances are if you are running into a tech issue, there are at least two or three students sitting in the class who know how to fix it! Our students are living in the age of technology and they will be using it. Why not enhance our lessons by speaking the language of our students: Technology!