25 hours in a day

That’s pretty much the minimum amount of time I need to get everything done that I am working on. There will be a post about the alternative assessments my students just completed, but I need to grade them first.  So, let me tell you about a little things called the Middletown Web Challenge.

In November, a friend’s school ran a 30 Web Tools Challenge in which they posted a different web tool for each day for teachers to try in their classroom.  The objective was to expose teachers to a variety of free tools that could have an immediate, positive impact on learning.  There are so many teachers that want to do more in their classes, but don’t have the time or know-how to find the way to improve.  Your colleagues can only provide you so many ideas and once you have been teaching awhile with the same group, you find the ideas begin to dry up.  This is where the web challenge comes in.

My district is on the edge of glory greatness.  For too many years, because of a rotating door of administrators, the teachers have shut their doors to the outside world and things have begun to stagnate.  That does not mean it’s bad; in fact I have met some amazing individuals.  The problem is the school is at the point where it needs that small push to get from good to great.

http://www.melroseschools.com/images/digital-learning.jpg

I saw a tweet from Eric Sheninger in December about Digital Learning Day on February 1st.  This initiative from the Obama administration strives to increase the amount of technology being used in schools with the kickoff occurring on DLD.  I saw this as a fantastic opportunity to expose my colleagues to the wonderful world of Web 2.0 Tools that I have been learning about on Twitter for the past 2 years.  I shared the information with a colleague in one of our middle schools and she jumped on board.  Also a web geek, she has been leading a charge to incorporate a number of Google Apps into the MS classes so she thought this was the perfect way to start effecting real change district wide.  We met with our principals and so the Middletown Web Challenge was born.

This was all prior to Winter Break. As we began to build the blog and compile the list of tools we wanted to share, we realized that no one has really told the new superintendent what we were up to.  We scheduled a meeting for last Friday, and after the assistant superintendent heard of our plans, she immediately decided to make this a 6-12 initiative that would now include 3 middle schools and both high schools.  It was decided that a video promo of the project would be filmed to be put on the local TV channel and the district website explaining what we would be doing over the month of February so the community could get involved.  From a short tweet and subsequent email, this idea has grown into a massive district changing program.

I have to tell you that I am unbelievably excited for everything that is happening.  Regardless of how many teachers actually participate, I know that the group of teachers that are working on this project are striving to improve education and doing what’s best of student learning.  When I first pitched this to my principal I thought that only my 1 school of 100 staff members would be involved and probably only about 25% of them would actually participate.  Now, this blog idea will be at the core of a movement that could involve 400 educators from grades 6-12.

I highly recommend getting your school involved in some sort of digital learning initiative before the end of the year.  Check out the links I included above for ideas on how your school can get involved.

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