Thursday, July 27, 2006

Centres Of Excellence

We now have the next seven ACTIVboards up and running in the school, bringing our total to 13. The new boards have mainly gone into the Middle Primary section of the school, although the upper primary, junior primary and Resource Centre have scored one each as well, providing a wide spread across the school. We are certainly a school now with a major IWB focus and to that end, we had a meeting to discuss an offer of becoming a Promethean Centre of Excellence. There is an official place bearing that title, but the concept hails from the UK as a Promethean initiative to recognise high competency and leadership in the area of IWB implementation. The official website lists the following information re: the role of Centres Of Excellence.
Promethean Centres of Excellence promote and support the dissemination of skills in effective use of the Promethean collaborative classroom.

Centre of Excellence Services:

* Can train, tutor and assess new users
* Provide a focus for the development of good practice in the use of Promethean solutions to support teaching and learning
* Support schools, colleges and other users in the local area who are working towards Promethean Accredited status

So, our school has been given this opportunity to participate especially as Promethean are keen to expand this concept in Australian schools. The big benefits are that it gives us guidelines for improvement, a measure of progression in our skills and the opportunities provided to our students. There is a big emphasis on the sharing of resources both locally and at the global level which is an important step many teachers still have to make. In these times of connectedness, sharing of ideas, practices and resources becomes a really important way of managing time and workloads. The proposal sheet lists the following information:

How do we become a Centre of Excellence?

Demonstrate excellence in the use of ACTIVboards
For an institution to be accredited as a Centre of Excellence it has to show excellence not only in the way the teachers use the Interactive Whiteboards, but also in how they plan and share resources to show a ‘whole school approach’ to the implementation of whiteboard technology.

Demonstrate passing on of knowledge and training of others
The institution also needs to show it has shared experiences and expertise with others via training on the ACTIVboards and software or presentations and workshops that have been run.

We discussed all of these options with the assembled group tonight and there was unanimous support for the proposal. We need six teachers to achieve the standard of Curriculum Developer which requires the production of flipchart resources assessed by the National trainer - it will be a challenge but a goal worth striving for and helps clarify the way forward for our newest ACTIVboard users. This is definitely a way for our teachers to ensure that their technical and resource development skills keep up - our work with Flinders Uni will provide the challenge to keep working on the transformative teaching and learning that must accompany this investment.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

More Board Real Estate On Its Way

We have started the installation process for the second wave of ACTIVboards here at my school. This time, we've also had two of the larger model boards installed, the 78" version while the rest of the school is sporting the 60" model. The first one of these went into one of our MYLU classrooms and the extra size is immediately evident to an experienced user like myself. I used one of these last year at the EChO conference and loved the extra "real estate". With the older kids, it means they will view the board's display a lot better without leaving their seats and they are tall enough for the whole IWB surface to be in play. A larger one has also been installed in the Resource Centre and could be a great focal point for whole staff training.

However, when playing with a new blog search tool tonight, I found that our big boards are being upstaged by Promethean's newest addition to its range, a 95" monster. And kids will get help to make use of the large size of this supersized IWB.
The Activboard can also be used with Promethean's new 21-inch
Activwand, which permits early learners and special needs students to more
easily select and interact with objects on the board that may have been out
of reach before.