"With a block schedule we are afforded multiple
ways to use our classrooms and workspaces." --Theresa
meet in their scheduled classrooms, but depending on the activity, may
move to one of the other classrooms. If the day's activities call for
the use of computers, students may use a computer lab, the Media Center,
or the six computers in the language arts classroom. The block schedule
provides the time necessary to allow student movement, as well as access
to the team's three classrooms allowing for multiple workspaces.
Daily Block Schedule
Block 1/5 - 8:41-10:06
Block 2/6 - 10:10-11:35
Block 3/7 - 11:39-1:31 (Planning Time - Red Days)
Block 4/8 - 1:35-3:00 (Planning Time - White Days)
and Classroom Panoramas (requires QuickTime
The Albertson Lab.
The Media Center's lab.
The language arts classrooms has six computers.
"It would be impossible to accomplish all this
without technology. Whether we are number crunching or running simulations,
making predictions or organizing information and examining results,
technology is the key. Technology enables students to manage more complex
problems that have genuine meaning. Students can link up with true experts
and become involved with actual process of problem solving with meaning
and rigor." --Meile Harris
At O'Leary there are three main rooms where students can access networked
computers. Teachers must schedule their use in advance.
The Albertson's Lab, provided to O'Leary through a major grant from the
Albertson's Foundation, measuring 9 x 9 meters, contains 25 networked
computers and a teaching station. Computers are arranged in groups on
seven tables. It includes two printers (HPLaserJet 600 and Tectronics
color printer). There are two CD writers and one scanner. Videoconferencing
equipment, an Elmo, and a Smartboard are also in the room. Two digital
cameras, one digital video camera, and one set of probeware for CBL's
complete the technology available to teachers and students.
There is also a computer lab in Building B (the team's classrooms are
all located in Building A). It contains 25 networked computers with two
printers. This lab is not used as frequently by the team due to its location,
but students have access to it for completing classwork.
The library, located near Jill's classroom, also supports 25 computers
linked to the Internet. The library media specialist support student work,
and provides guidance in research and information literacy skills.
Each classroom contains at least one computer, used by teachers for presentations,
group demonstrations by students, and individual student work. Language
arts classrooms contain six computers, as well as 25 Alpha Smart keyboards.
Students in the media center.
Student Technology Skills
The teachers know that students have basic knowledge and skill with
a few areas like word processing and basic Internet searching. They had
to allot time, however, to formally walk students through certain processes.
For example, Theresa explained how to use Inspiration to build
a concept map and add notes. They also needed a demonstration for creating
a database record for the roller coaster Web sites and then sorting and
searching the database.
"Most students come with some knowledge
of word processing and Internet skills. Projects still require formal
teaching of technology skills to help students transfer their skills
to the content of the project at hand." --Theresa
All three teachers on the team had reservations, at times, about the
inconvenience of technology. There were inevitable delays when something
didn't work or a file got lost or an application wouldn't open. Meile
found that calibrating the probeware took tremendous patience and care
to get accurate readings. Nonetheless, they each had moments of seeing
the undeniable value of technology in helping students to really a grasp
new concept or show what they understand.
"Technology should help students explore
concepts on their own that would otherwise be impossible. Lessons need
to give students the flexibility to test their own ideas and validate
(or invalidate) their hypotheses. Technology can also best help students
organize their new learning into creative presentations that all students
can learn from. This level of processing is often entirely missing from
most curriculums and yet it is one of the most important tasks students
can do to cement their new knowledge." --Theresa