Sunday, November 3, 2013

Minutes of October 22 DLIC Mtg - What is the quality of Digital Learning at EO Smith?

In attendance: Bruce Silva, Nancy Silander, Frank Krasicki, Sue Palmberg, Alan Trotochad, and David Strimple.

This meeting discussed the quality of digital learning that students, faculty, and administrators are exposed to.  Recent internet discussions and internal discussions about curriculum have been concerned with whether merely copying a traditional textbook to a digital format or watching a video constitute a digital learning experience or not.  In many cases, turn-key curriculum materials distributed by textbook manufacturers still promote the one-size-fits-all curriculum.

We started by exploring the quality of Professional Development our teachers are exposed to.  After some discussion, the conclusion was that there are two threads that can consume Professional Development time; perfunctory In-Service development topics often dictated by external bodies and actual Professional Development that might make a teacher more proficient in a particular skill or technique such as developing higher level digital classroom activity.

The staff's professional development time at EO Smith most recently and for the foreseeable future are, like the rest of the state public school system, is far too often consumed by legislated requirements with little time for , say... enhancing pedagogy.

We discussed a number of topics that might free up some additional professional development time but nothing that had any traction in terms of practicality.

An action item that did come out of that discussion was that Alan will create a teacher survey that simply gathers the sum of digital learning exercise available at EO Smith so that we can promote learning and teaching activities from within.

A middle topic was what kind of computer requirements EO Smith should migrate to.  The traditional keyboarding and Microsoft Office exclusive training is both dated and largely unnecessary.  A few suggestions included; How to formulate search engine questions and How to recognise the best answers.  It was also mentioned that Susan Biren was now transitioning from Microsoft Office training to more open source and online office suite exposures.  The Curriculum Committee will also review this topic.

We also discussed the issue of technology/science/math course participation by gender.  Our conclusion was that female students had made great strides in recent years in math and science in terms of enrollment in these classes - parity guess-timates for many classes were cited.  The exception was a lament by David Strimple that his AP computer science offering was still under-represented by female students.  This is a nationwide phenomenon and David's class is one of the more challenging of the elective cohort available.