Back to the Future – Tech Integration at CVU

“Hey kid, thumb a hundred bucks will ya, help save the clock tower?” So says Terry, a local citizen, to Marty, who has traveled to the year 2015 from 1985 in the film Back to the Future II. The as-yet-not-invented handheld tablet computer held in Terry’s hand uncannily anticipated this year’s launching of the CVU 1-1 program, in which all 9th graders were given their own HP Stream laptop computers for their use over the next four years. This is just one of many ways in which technology is being used to advance teaching and learning at CVU.

The 1-to-1 launch was a big success. Here, students are opening theirs for the first time.

From a management perspective, of course, choices in technology impact day-to-day organizational tasks and the ability to track school information from which data-driven decisions can be made. From an educational perspective, technology is used by teachers in the classroom to support learning goals, as tools that help students and teachers track learning outcomes and develop clear post-graduate plans, and to help students master technology skills that allow them to pursue these goals.

The rapid pace of technological change, and questions regarding its real impact on learning and engagement, are some barriers to its incorporation in the classroom. Supporting teachers in understanding the learning opportunities offered by technology is one of the many jobs of CVU Tech Integration Specialist Charlie MacFadyen, who, through workshops and classes, one-on-one support, collaborations with teachers and students, and coordination with sending schools to ensure that students arrive at CVU with similar tech experiences and skills, does a lot to make this happen.

Technology is also used in a variety of ways by students to show evidence of student learning. In Spanish classes, students use VoiceThread to speak about paintings in Spanish, and to practice a variety of skills. In science classes, students use probes and video to capture and analyze data, and to think “out of the box” about how to express ideas. In a Current Issues class, students were tasked with creating an ad–video, audio, or animated–for a political campaign, using tools such as PowToon and Audacity. The ability to flexibly use a variety of digital tools is increasingly important immediately post-graduation, as their use in evaluating and communicating with individuals who are transitioning to college, gap year and career settings is growing.

Of great interest is the relatively new use of technology by students to regularly tackle some of the big questions in their lives, like “Where am I headed?” and “How am I doing?” This is done by providing them with open access to progress in their courses through the newly adopted web-based standards tracking software, JumpRope and developing personalized learning plans or PLPs through the expanded capacities of Naviance.

Naviance has long been used at CVU to help students and families make informed decisions about college choices and track the status of supporting application documents. As one of the tools for PLPs, students will use Naviance to identify, trace and reflect on the variety of school and community-based experiences in which they participate (i.e., “multiple pathways” including traditional academic work, volunteer, part-time jobs, conferences, workshops, internships, coursework that is online or at other educational institutions, or individual independent study) to learn more about their own capabilities, strengths, and interests as they prepare for their post-secondary endeavors. Naviance is now being used to record this information and related artifacts (school work, journal entries, advisor notes, etc.) and serve as the focal point of conversations between students and their advisors, teachers, parents, and school counselors that provide continuity throughout a student’s school experience. CVU’s goal is to graduate students who are excited about their futures after high school, among other things.

So, what is coming up?  CVU is in the process of creating graduation standards that address technology skills. Rather than specifying technology standards and skills per se, CVU’s approach will be to house these standards within the process of learning. For example, one of the ways in which students are expected to demonstrate the standard of “clear and effective communication” is through the use of technology. The specific application isn’t specified, but the ability to use technology to clearly and effectively communicate is. Given the rapidly changing nature of technology, such an approach prevents the standards from becoming quickly obsolete. It should be noted, however, that CVU also has courses in the business and practical arts departments, as well as computer programming, where students dive heavily into technology itself. The Engineering, Robotics and Computer Clubs also provide opportunities for those students who want to extend their use of technology.

CVU School Board Communications Committee

Lia Cravedi, School Board Director, Hinesburg, lcravedi@uvm.edu

Susan Grasso, Community Member, Shelburne, malbec@comcast.net

Kim Schmitt, School Board Director, Shelburne, kschmitt@cssu.org

Good News

A voter registration drive that was organized by the Social Studies Department registered 150 students to vote.

Upcoming community events at CVU

Winter clothing drive

The CVU Refugee Outreach Club is teaming up with the Vermont Interscholastic Council to collect new or gently used winter coats, hats, mittens, or boots for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. Please drop off contributions to the main office at CVU or the lobbies at local elementary schools in our district by December 10.

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