Arriving early for the session gave me an opportunity to talk with the presenters about the challenges their school faced before they committed to a research-based model of instruction that uses technology tools. Juli and Michele shared some quick demographic information about their school including that fact that within a student body of 850, 17 languages are spoken and 75 percent of the student population receives free or reduced lunch. Clearly, these were realities that the faculty, staff, and administration had to consider as they prepared to promote global competence by integrating media and technology meaningfully into the curriculum in a multicultural way.
First steps included providing teacher training to learn how to use various new technology tools such as Symbaloo and Skype and allotment of time in weekly schedules for PLCs to meet. The presenters talked about unanticipated challenges, including the difficulty of securing global partners, the reluctance of some teachers to use technology, and the challenge of finding and keeping dedicated time to learn, create, and share.
Based upon the presentation, both students AND teachers are well on the way to becoming 21st century learners at Storm Lake Elementary School. Storm Lake’s infusion of technology into the curriculum has enhanced each student’s understanding of culture.
This presentation and snapshot of an elementary school on the move confirms that it is our job as educators to prepare students today to explore, learn, share, and communicate using technology so that they can be globally competent tomorrow. Thanks, Juli and Michelle for such an invigorating and informative session!
—Janet E. Cerro, principal, Fletcher Elementary School, Cambridge, Vermont