Sunday, June 03, 2007

Time to Review UbD

One of the many tasks on my summer list is to revisit the tech integration process for the classrooms. Currently, a person from each grade level team develops the plan for the team and submits it to the tech integration specialists for comment. Teachers who didn't want to use the team's plan were free to create their own plan with the tech specialists. In theory, that document becomes my lesson plans for the semester.

This system isn't working very well. One reason is that our students have outgrown our current tech outcomes so the tech plans aren't stretching them. Another reason is that we aren't really following the plans. Teachers tended to run into me in the halls and say, "Oh! This week could we..." Or else they feel guilty that they aren't giving me better information. Surprisingly good integration was occurring, but it was despite the integration plans, not because of them. And so, I knew I needed to spend time this summer on how to improve the system.

I'd like to come at it from the other direction. It doesn't make much sense to me that teachers are creating the tech plans and then submitting them to use for comments. After all, I am the tech specialist. I should be helping them come up with the integration. However, I was struggling for a framework to use.

Fortunately, tonight I started to tackle the backlog in my feed reader. I started with Kim Cofino's Always Learning blog. One post that especially intrigued me discussed how she has switched to using Understanding by Design principles to plan technology integration units with her teachers. In the post she outlines the process she went through to help a self-professed technology dinosaur become a tech immigrant.

Her process is more in-depth than I'll be able to do with my teachers. They are too swamped to sit and plan the entire year's tech integration to that depth. However, I think there are ways to draw in UbD. Good thing I have this summer to mull it over.

However, now I need to pack up for my holiday back in Minnesota. Too much to do here to follow those thoughts now.

Good luck to all you who are finishing up the year. I hope it goes smoothly.