Superintendent's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Teaching and Learning'

Bedford High School Teachers Participate in Special Project with Burlington and Andover

June 28th, 2011 · No Comments

With the start of summer break, a cohort of Bedford High School teachers joined colleagues from Burlington and Andover as we begin a regional effort to develop online curriculum and textbooks.  Teachers have participated in mini-workshops with Apple to learn ePublishing and other applications as preparation for our iPad initiative.

The work we are beginning is already well underway in the state of Virginia.   Researchers from the Virginia Department of Education have documented their success in developing student centered  digital classrooms of the future using  1:1 devices such as iPads as classroom tools for all students.  If you are interested in reading this report, click here:

http://www.lwbva.org/Year_One_Beyond_Textbooks_Report.pdf

Tags: Digital Learners · Parent · Teaching and Learning

Superintendent’s Goals: 2010-2011

June 17th, 2011 · No Comments

The final report on the Superintendent’s Goals for 2010-2011 was presented to the Bedford School Committee on June 14th.  If you are interested in reviewing the PowerPoint presentation, click here:

http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/GOALSFinal2010–2011.pdf

For the full report on the goals, click here:

http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/GoalsEndofYear2010-2011.pdf

Tags: Community · Teaching and Learning

1:1 Initiatives in Bedford

June 15th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Last evening the Bedford School Committee approved the lease purchase agreement for the iPad2 Pilot Project at Bedford High School.  This morning the Bedford Education Association approved the funding for an iPad2 Project at the Lane School.  This is very exciting news on the educational front as we begin to transform our classrooms to more Personalized Learning Environments for students.  As we move in this direction, we are focused on developing learners as critical and creative thinkers able to  find information, make informed decisions about content and create new content using the sophisticated digital tools we have placed at their fingertips.  In Bedford we have a talented faculty that is eager to create this new learning environment where teachers and students have the opportunity to  engage in even more powerful learning partnerships.

The state of Iowa has blazed the 1:1 path for us; in September, they will   have 100 schools with 1:1 initiatives in place.  The Iowa Independent recently penned an article on that state’s efforts to change the learning environment.  If you are interested in reading about their work, click here:

One-to-one Schools ‘Step through the Looking Glass
[ http://iowaindependent.com/57295/one-to-one-schools-%E2%80%98step-through-the-looking-glass%E2%80%99

(Sent from [ http://flipboard.com ]Flipboard)

Tags: Digital Learners · Teaching and Learning

K-12 Social Studies Program Review Presented to the Bedford School Committee

May 26th, 2011 · No Comments

The Visiting Team that reviewed our k-12 Social Studies Program was very complimentary about the quality of Bedford’s  program and the exceptional dedication of our professional staff.  In Bedford we use a comprehensive Self-Study Model, based on the NEASC model for accreditation, to review our programs providing both affirmation of what we do and recommendations for areas where we can  improve.  This program evaluation model includes a three day visit by a Visiting Team of peers who are judged to be leaders in their field.  The Visiting Team’s presentation to the Bedford School Committee  included the following commendations and recommendations:
Major Commendations:

  1. Commitment to professional collaboration.
  2. Effective use of technology.
  3. Intense focus on critical thinking.
  4. Increasing commitment to correlating their local lessons to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
  5. Coordinated alignment of all district-wide documents.
  6. Excellent organization of the site visit by Christine Butler.
  7. Incredible attention and care provided by the Social Studies Host Team, including Christine Butler, Joe Casey, Karen Lerra, and Susan Nocera.
Major Recommendations:
  1. Encouraging BHS Teachers to make the shift to Student-centered learning.
  2. Providing equity and opportunity in non-Level 5 classes at BHS.
  3. Taking the lead of Teachers at Davis and Lane by explicitly teaching literacy strategies in Social Studies at BHS and JGMS.
  4. Creating more common planning and meeting time to dedicate to Social Studies.
  5. Giving Teachers access to resources such as content-area and technology-based professional development.
  6. Exploring the expansion of 21st Century Skills to areas beyond technology literacy

If you would like to view the presentation, click here:  http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/SSProgramReviewPresentation.pdf

Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

K-12 Program Review English Language Arts

May 26th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I have been catching up on my blog posts and just realized that I neglected to share the wonderful report of the k-12 English Language Arts Program Review Visiting Team.  In February, the Visiting Team presented its findings  to the Bedford School Committee.  This comprehensive Program Review process is designed to provide us with a comprehensive peer review of the quality and currency of the programs in our schools.   The ELA Visiting Team provided numerous commendations of the work of our faculty and targeted recommendations for areas where we can improve our programs and practices.   Here’s a flavor of the Visiting Team presentation:
Lasting Impressions of Our Program:
  1. Extraordinary level of dedication and commitment
  2. High morale and goodwill
  3. Good faith among all constituencies working toward a shared vision of balancing excellence in education and attention to the whole child
  4. True sense of collaboration

If you would like to review the presentation, click here:  http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/EnglishProgramReviewPresentation.pdf

Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

Special Olympics for LABBB Collaborative

May 20th, 2011 · No Comments

Please take a moment to read a guest article from Patric Barbieri, Executive Director for the LABBB Collaborative.

Here’s the intro and a link to the full article:

Back in the late 1970s, the Special Olympics started its first local event at Lexington High School with approximately 30 high school athletes competing from the LABBB Collaborative. The LABBB Collaborative provides special education services to students from Lexington, Arlington, Bedford, Burlington, and Belmont. The event was first organized by a Lexington High School physical education teacher and Lexington student leader volunteers, and was held in the Lexington High School Field House. One of those student leaders was 1980 Lexington High School graduate Paula Rizzo. Paula, Special Olympics director, has been working for the LABBB Collaborative since 1985 and currently is the integration and recreational coordinator.

http://www.wickedlocal.com/lexington/news/lifestyle/x956205079/Barbieri-Collaboration-makes-these-games-special?photo=0#axzz1MuHdS92S

Tags: Parent · Teaching and Learning

Why Are We Thinking About an iPad2 Pilot for Bedford High School?

April 25th, 2011 · 21 Comments

Introduction:

The notion of moving our classrooms to a 1:1 Program is something we have been thinking about for more than two years.  As a district, the 2010-2011 Netbook Pilot at Lane School represented our first classroom implementation.  That pilot program has helped us identify the limitations of this device.  As part of our exploration this past school year, we have looked to 1:1 initiatives in other districts at both the middle and high school level.  While some might question the need to move from mobile labs to a 1:1 model, it is important to recognize that the lab model has limitations in terms of both the time to boot up all the devices and the limited access time.  With the new tablet technology, we now have the opportunity to harness Internet resources 24/7. The opportunity to do so is and will continue to change the landscape in terms of student engagement and instructional design both in and beyond the classroom.

The state of Maine 1:1 initiative has been in place for a decade.  Here’s what we have learned from the Yarmouth Maine 1:1 Laptop initiative that was instituted in 2001:

Equipment Purchase and Management:

  • Laptops are funded using a four year lease
  • State provides of Maine provides $286 annually for each student for technology
  • The district has 2000 computers for 1500 kids
  • The computers have required minimal repairs
  • Technology is central to the teaching and learning environment
  • Students are used as trainers for the annual fall roll out
  • In 8 years, only two laptops have been stolen

Teaching and Learning:

  • Teachers are able to individualize (differentiate) instruction.
  • Teachers are very comfortable learning from students
  • Class time is devoted to discussion and problem solving
  • Students are very engaged

In January 2011, the Millis Public Schools  implemented an iPad Pilot for the entire eighth grade.  To begin the implementation, the district installed 40 Apps on each tablet.  As reported by the middle school principal, the pilot has resulted in the following:

  • The learning environment has evolved to one characterized by more Personalized Learning
  • Student engagement significant and characterized by learning extending beyond the school day, Teachers report that there is not wasted time in class.
  • Teachers are using a Blended Learning model.
  • It’s about effective teaching
  • Kids do their work on the iPad and send it to teachers via email and google docs
  • Some teachers post evening hours noting when they will be online to chat with students

Specifications:  Why the iPad2?

Our instructional technology staff has been piloting various tablet devices during the 2010-2011 school year.  They have examined the capacity of laptops, iPads, and  Droids to help us understand which device makes the most sense for our initial venture into a 1:1 world.

  1. 24/7 Access:  This pilot proposal is designed  to supply each student with ready access to technology on a 1:1 basis 24×7.  The iPad2 fits that need the best of any available device at this time.
  2. Comparative Devices: The technology staff has spent the last year looking at various devices.  We already have laptops in house and a 1:1 pilot with Netbooks for comparison.  They have tested a Droid based tablet for comparison and looked at the iPad extensively.
  3. Battery Life: The iPad2 is very portable and provides 10 hours of uninterrupted use.  Laptops only give a few hours. Netbooks have similar battery life similar to the iPad.
  4. Apps: iPads offer a wide variety of Apps including the ability to use word processing, spreadsheet , presentation software, and web based resources.  The availability of apps for education is significant. The range of Apps enables the staff not only to access a wide range of resources for the whole class but also to individualize learning and address diverse needs more quickly and “in the moment” avoiding the delay and obvious differentiation that often makes students feel different.
  5. Built in camera/movie camera: Some Netbooks also have a built in camera, but the format of the device makes it hard to use.  Netbooks do not have the horse power to run video editing programs.  Speed and ease of iMovie on the iPad2 make it feasible to create short video projects in a fraction of the time with laptops.
  6. Durability – The iPad has  no moving parts to break
  7. Procurement of Apps/software:  Unlike Droid, Apple has a system whereby we can purchase Apps without a credit card.  This is not possible on Droid based units.  The Apple Volume Purchase system already setup to give us 50% discount on apps purchased in quantities of 20 or more.
  8. Access to FirstClass & Aspen – Droid based tablets have very limited access to FirstClass.  No app, can’t use web based version.  Only access is through stripped down web version.  Aspen doesn’t work correctly in Droid based browsers – works well on iPad.
  9. Maintenance: Unlike laptops, which require significant staff support, the technology staff can safely allow students and teachers to install apps on iPads.  With no moving parts, we would not have as many hardware failures.  Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions are available to ease delivery of apps and to manage volume purchase and licensing.  No MDM solution is currently available on a Droid tablet.

Will the iPad2 Meet all of Our Technology Needs?

  1. Limitations:  At this time, we do not see the iPad as a replacement for all of our technology.  There are several things we do with technology now that the iPad cannot do now  (VoiceThread, large movie creation, Foreign Language Lab, Drafting, Art Lab etc.)  We still see the need for teachers, even as students have  iPads,  needing to access laptop carts and labs on a limited basis. While we predict a reduction in the need for the laptops and labs, we still see some need for them.
  2. Paperless Environment:  It is hard to predict how much, but we would expect we would see a reduction of paper use as teachers would deliver material electronically.
  3. Ink/Toner: Along with paper, we would expect to see a reduction in ink and toner usage as well as copier toner as teachers move to electronic delivery of material to the students.  Students would submit more and more material electronically.
  4. Graphing Calculators There is a graphing calculator app
  5. Laptop Reductions – We would expect to see a reduction in laptop cart usage with the 1:1.  Once we can establish the reduction, we could lower our replacement rate as we take carts off line.
  6. Music Midi Lab – There is potential for the Music Midi Lab at the high school to see less need with the iPad2.  Some of the classes they teach could possibly use Garage Band and other apps.  It is unclear that this could be a direct replacement.  We see it more as an augmentation at this time.
  7. Reduced lab usage – Along with the laptop carts, we would expect to see a reduction in the use of some of the computer labs.  It is hard to quantify, like the laptop carts.  Once we  establish a pattern of usage, we could move to a reduction in this area allowing for the  potential to allow space to be free for other uses.
  8. Electricity - With students required to charge the iPad 2 at home, we would see little increase in our electrical needs.  If laptop carts and labs came off line, we would expect a decrease in electrical needs.
  9. Textbook Replacement Plan – This is the most obvious cost avoidance in using the iPad since iPads can access any electronic text book that we already have access to on PCs.

    Tags: Community · Digital Learners · Teaching and Learning

    1:1 Pilot Proposed for Bedford High School

    April 4th, 2011 · 1 Comment

    Tomorrow night’s Bedford School Committee meeting will include a presentation and discussion of a proposal for a 1:1 Pilot Program using the iPad2 with  next year’s ninth graders.  Today’s release of the Speak Up 2010 report on parent and student opinions about the use of technology in schools is very timely.

    Key findings from the Executive Summary:

    • 67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.
    • 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.
    • Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.
  1. Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning.
  2. Here’s a link to the report:  http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/pdfs/SU10_3EofEducation_Students.pdf

    Tags: Digital Learners · Teaching and Learning

    Update Superintendent’s Goals

    March 16th, 2011 · No Comments

    The mid-year update on the Superintendent’s Goals was presented to the Bedford School Committee on March 8th.  You can view the PowerPoint overview by clicking here:

    http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/GOALSMid-year2010–2011.pdf

    To access the goals document, click here:

    http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/Goals%20Mid-Year2010-11.pdf

    Tags: Community · Parent · Teaching and Learning

    Congratulations to Scholastic Writing Award Winners at BHS

    March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

    Congratulations to Bedford High School scholars who received the following recognition for their work in the Boston  Scholastic Writing Award competition:

    Hilary Belanger,        Grade 12.    Honorable Mention.      Personal Essay/Memoir:  “New Me”

    Vanessa   Desiato, Grade 11.    Silver Key.                              Personal Essay/Memoi:r   ” He Called Me Willy”

    Hilana Ezekiel, Grade 12. Honorable Mention.                    Poetry:                          “Some of My Thoughts”

    Bethany   Rennich, Grade  10.   Honorable Mention.        Short Short Story:   “Echoes”

    Tags: Community · Teaching and Learning