Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Technology Workshops ... A Reflection

This past Friday, June 17 and Monday, June 20, the Instructional Technology Department held a 2 day, 10 hour collection of technology workshops. They were all a big success! I really liked how the workshops built upon each other.

My workshop was about an overview of Thinkfinity. Thinkfinity is a web site that has lesson plans, multimedia, interactives, e-sheets, and professional development webinars. Everything within Thinkfinity and its partner web sites can be accessed from home or school by teachers, students, and parents. All of this is free! I have written several times about Thinkfinity before and it can be found here.

Resources that I used for this workshop can be found on the Thinkfinity Partner Sites on the WSFCS wiki page. You do not have to have access to the wiki in order to view our pages. Some of the resources that I used are pdf's that show how to navigate around the different partner sites within Thinkfinity.

So why do you care about this great web site? Thinkfinity helps to differentiate learning, is aligned with North Carolina Standard Course of Study and National Standards, there are lots of interactives for students, meets standards of the new Teacher Evaluation Tool (McREL), and meets NC Essential Standards for Information and Technology Skills. A couple of the standards that I pulled out of the Teacher Evaluation Tool are: I c - "Teachers lead the teaching profession.Teachers strive to improve the teaching profession. They contribute to the establishment of positive working conditions in their school. They actively participate in and advocate for decision-making structures in education and government that take advantage of the expertise of teachers. Teachers promote professional growth for all educators and collaborate with their colleagues to improve the profession"; and IV e - "Teachers help students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Teachers encourage students to ask questions, think creatively, develop and test innovative ideas, synthesize knowledge, and draw conclusions. They help students exercise and communicate sound reasoning; understand connections; make complex choices; and frame, analyze, and solve problems."

My absolute favorite partner site from Thinkfinity is Wonderopolis. Wonderopolis has "Wonders of the Day" that can get families to research, share, and discuss together. You see commercials all the time talking about family game night, now they can have family wonder night! A couple of my other favorite sites are National Geographic Education, and ReadWriteThink.

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