Up until now I have been able to use parts of grade level meetings for the DreamIT project with some success. At this point I am able to reflect and make some observations about how the DreamIT has had an impact on some aspects of how the school functions. DreamIT began with the idea of forming a professional learning community that would rely heavily on the ability of teachers to collaborate and communicate online.
The shift to online, digital communication has changed our meetings. In the near future we will collaborate, coordinate and facilitate using online tools..A growing number of teachers are using the google drive to coauthor and share documents. As we turn to the implementation of a cycle of learning, the google drive will become even more important. Teachers will have access to readings, agendas, research links, and they will be able to organize and display data and artifacts.Examples of teacher practice can be uploaded and shared in the form of anecdotal evidence, digital images, and videos.This represents a radical change from earlier in the year when teachers were discouraged from using technology during meetings. Since then, paper based documentation became digital and teachers now have reliable laptops.
Another way in which the DreamIT project has affected the school is in the way we look at unit planning. A format for presenting a unit plan evolved out of work in studying Understanding by Design and attempting to follow through,using opportunities to co-plan concept based interdisciplinary units.We use a google site as an interactive link to a unit plan template, access to content standards and teaching resources, and the means to create a digital map of the curriculum. This is a means of replacing the “lesson plan at the door” by allowing visitors to access units and lesson plans through their phones or a tablet. Teachers can reflect and revise easily and build a yearlong curriculum one unit at a time. The curriculum also becomes public when shared with the entire school community.
One other important outcome of the DreamIT project is the way I have approached working in a new environment. I have a focus that factors into any task I have been asked to do.Teaching for understanding has become integrated into all aspects of my work. Changes in the school environment make it even more important to try to remain productive and consistent.It has been a challenging year in that the admninstration of the school were dismissed and replaced. A chaotic period followed that slowed down any attempt to build something in the school, but recently we have begun to turn things around.
The experiences from this year will set the stage for next year.We will relaunch the afterschool STEM units with a little experience and hopefully an external partner to enrich the experience for the students. We will try to establish a STEM resource class to replace technology at selected grade levels. We will continue to work on a curriculum map for interdisciplinary math, science, and technology units addressing relevant issues that connect to our students. I don‘t think any of this would be happening without the direction provided by the DreamIT project.