Saturday, February 5, 2011

C4T 1

Scott Elias of Do I Dare Disturb the Universe? is described on his blog as
Scott Elias

"a MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL and PHD STUDENT in Northern Colorado. He is a BLOGGER, PODCASTER, and TWEETER who hangs out at the intersection of social media and school leadership. He enjoys sharing RANDOM tidbits that he finds online, as well as taking PICTURES and even creating some VIDEOS. On certain occasions, he has been invited to PRESENT to unsuspecting audiences."

In his January 20th post he discussed his experience creating a new online presence for Conrad Ball Middle School. Along with some technical explanations on how he created the website itself he also shared how he got his school and the community on board with the project. Scott wanted a place where parents could find all the information they needed to stay informed about their children's school. In order to achieve this he had to gain support from his staff. To better reach parents he had training available for parents. Scott writes that both his teachers and parents were quick to embrace the new site. He encouraged feedback and suggestions and by listening to the ideas presented by his audience Scott was able to create a well organized easy to use school website that meets the needs of his school. I visited the website he created and found it to be incredibly well organized and easy to use. The website provides easy access to teacher's blogs, homework calendars, classroom policies and more.
Middle school is a time when students are pushing their parents away and parental involvement decreases drastically. I think that the best way to improve parental involvement is to make it easy, and make it unintrusive. By creating a website that allows for easy communication between teachers and parents it gives parents a way to stay in the loop.

Mr. Elias's next post, published February 5th, outlined his implementation of a staff blog. He created the blog as a way to cut down on meetings and e-mails. Teachers were encouraged to read the blog daily and Scott had their browser home pages changed to the blog. He found that the blog made it easier to disseminate information to his staff and increased his ability to promptly respond to questions and make corrections. This post is a good example of something I noticed about many of Mr. Elias's posts. Whenever he wants to change the way something is done in his school he first considers the obstacles he will face. He plans for training sessions and requires all of his staff to learn the new technology. The staff blog is now the only place where information that, in the past, would have been included in a mass e-mail can be found. Teachers who did not want to check the blog daily would have to subscribe to e-mail updates to the blog in order to stay informed. I hope, as a teacher I can use some of Mr. Elias's ideas on integrating technology to improve the efficiency of my classroom and maybe even my school.

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