I recently attended a technology conference that may have been one of the most valuable conferences I have ever attended. It opened my eyes to the trends and the future of technology in education. At my school, we are contemplating the innovative use of technology and even the idea of computers for each of our students.
I am interested in knowing what other middle-level principals are doing to prepare for the future of technology in their schools. Are you or your teachers using blogs, wikis, or podcasts? Are you using cell phones, PDAs, or other personal technology devices in class? Do you provide one-to-one computers (laptops)? Are you seeing improvements in engagement and achievement, or just in engagement?
How are principals using technology for professional development?  Scott Schiller is assistant principal of Powell Middle School in Powell, Wyoming. 

re: Do You Wiki?

Scott,

I'm a service provider, not a principal, but I thought I might share with you how some schools are using wikis in the classroom. Here is a recent blog post that discusses several uses for wikis in a classroom: http://www.editme.com/Classroom-Wiki

You might also check out Mark Barne's site. He's written an e-book on using wikis in the classroom (particularly middle school) and has been teaching seminars to teachers in the Ohio area. His classroom wiki is here: http://middleschoolworld.editme.com/

Cheers,
Matt

re: Do You Wiki?

Matt,
Thanks for both of the great sites. I enjoyed reviewing them for ideas. We are definitely looking at the wiki as a possibility for teacher/student interaction. There are so many new things around every corner. For instance I had never heard of "ning" (http://www.ning.com)before...it seems a little more wide open, but I think it's important to keep up with what the kids are using. Thanks again for your input.

Scott

re: Do You Wiki?

Hey Scott!
I am an elementary principal in Willard, MO. I really started using technology 3 years ago and a way of making my job "easier." It has actually taken on a life of it's own and I will just bullet some of the ways that I use it now in hopes that it will help someone else:):)
*Practical Principals podcast with Scott Elias - Scott and I tried to record together monthly on whatever topics our audience suggests or whatever comes to us at the time.
*Google documents - All our admin team agendas are created in google documents so they can be shared and added to by everyone before the actual meeting.
*Wiki use - Not really bought into that yet.
*Blogs - I have requested that all my teachers have "blogs." They use blog programs but really these are just blogs disguised as websites. Blogs are easier to to add to anywhere than some website software. A blog is supposed to be a "two-way" communication but ours aren't to that level yet.
*iPhone - Oh my gosh this or any smartphone should be an equipment requirement:):):) for admin.
*Skype - I don't use this professionally but personally to communicate with my family far away all the time.
*Screencasting software to send teachers tutorials on things when I want them to find something or create something that is important on the computer or the buildings server.

I will try to post more later but I have to be in a meeting. I want to post something but the time gets away from me and I find that I don't post anything. Hopefully this will benefit someone reading:):):)

re: Do You Wiki?

Melinda, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I am also a big fan of the blogs and used those with our summer school students this past summer along with allowing them to email using epals. I think I have sampled your podcast and just recently have started using google docs (which I think is just the tip of the iceberg for the future of collaboration and sharing). I can't wait to hear more from you about your use of technology!

re: Do You Wiki?

Scott - I am going to attend my first technology conference in February. My technology skills are okay and can't wait to see what I have been missing. I am not comfortable with wikis; however, using technology a bit more will be my focus in 2009! Thanks and Happy New Year.

re: Do You Wiki?

Mark - Wertheimer Middle School is taking a similar approach. I agree with you and am glad to hear that you are not tolerating bullying and teasing at your school. I also believe communication is vital. We make sure we talk about bullying and what it looks like periodically with the students. We also make sure we check back on students who have been victims of bullying and the students who have bullied others. Visibility is extremely important. Students are more likely to report bullying to those they trust and being out with he children builds trust. My AP and I are constantly out building relationships with students before school, during class changes and after school. I am sure there are students who continue to bully;however, they will be caught sooner or later.

re: Do You Wiki?

In the January 9 online issue of Education Week an interesting article titled, Mobile Devices Seen as a Key to 21st Century Learning, makes some good points. It discusses the use of Smartphones in math class in a school in NC.

http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2009/01/09/04mobile.h02.html

Carol Riley