Innovate to Educate Entry
Batavia Public Schools District 101
Haley Nickolaou, Instructional Coach
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|Batavia High School's Campaign for Change|
What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?Our English I teachers developed a project called 'Campaign for Change.' After reading Ishmael Beah's book A Long Way Gone, freshman students choose a platform to which they would like to support or ignite change. They pick a world issue that they would like to support, and then they determine a plan of action. They use technology to research topics and organizations, to reach out to charitable organizations, to inform others about the issue and their plan to make a change, to raise money, to inform, for social media, and so much more. The components of the project include: gathering people, gathering goods or proceeds, getting the word out, time and creativity, connection with people. Students learn about credibility of sources and organizations, they learn to properly communicate with others, they learn to choose the appropriate medium for communication, they learn about the 'red tape' and 'rules' of the real world. They learn about collaboration, creativity, and above all problem solving. This project puts students in the driver's seat to helping with an issue in our world and to problem solving along the way. Students learn about perseverance, time management, organization, and other skills that can sometimes be ignored in a traditional project or setting.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?One of the biggest challenges that students faced was the freedom they had. They could choose any topic and make any action plan. They were accustomed to having options and direction, and we just left that wide open. We addressed this by creating a strong foundation in educating them about the things they needed to know in order to make the best decisions along the way (for example, we taught them about checking the credibility of the websites and organizations that they were using to get facts and were potentially working with to send money or items). As teachers, we became good questioners. We learned to ask our students questions that would prompt them to reflect and to investigate more where needed.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
Our district is 1:1 so incorporating the tech is very convenient.
|We also have instructional technologists and instructional coaches in our district that help us brainstorm ways to incorporate tech where it can help to enhance the lesson.|
I think that teachers have to be willing to explore, experiment, and accept failure and reflect to make it better.