Data, Spaces, Learning

The holiday break is approaching, and I’m taking stock of some changes this year.

We’ve been through some major processes in the changing of the student information system, and we still have much work to do in that area as we create key reports for the first time (report cards, transcripts) and we continue to chip away at Admission needs and HR needs.  Perhaps the hardest part is relating to people that we have a supported system that can have some customization done, but not an independent system that can have any customization done.  Everything that can be imagined isn’t always possible.

In terms of my “director of operations” role, I believe I have some definition on my four core objectives for the year in terms of master planning, current renovations, new multi-year projects and upcoming summer planned maintenance objectives.  I have a learning curve to achieve to understand the buildings at full definition (electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, insulation, doorways, aging infrastructure, steel, concrete, brick, glass, original premises, problems, future premises, costs, deferrals).

It’s a long list, but it’s not unlike experiences I’ve had in the past.  Also, systems that used to be “fixed” or only slightly dynamic (pneumatic tubes run through the building that used to flick on and off air handling unit switches) are now becoming digital and fully dynamic (i.e., building systems are now becoming more like computer networks, with relational changes taking place to increase efficiency).

As for curricular integration, we have completed a technology audit of the main technology experiences and achievements grade by grade.  Our next step is to work on an overall information literacy scope and sequences (which thankfully is close to 80 percent complete due to work and research by the librarians).  What I find interesting about this project is more the process than the product, and how we may find the three main technology objectives we’d like to invest more time and energy into.

So where might the next main technology and curriculum objectives be?  Some examples:

  • Student collaboration in real-time and real-space (such as interesting 1:4 computer to student models)
  • Student collaboration online, synchronous or asynchronous (such as going beyond what can be done in Moodle to Drupal or other collaborative options such as Google Apps).
  • Student interaction with a broader range of collaborators, online or real-time (such as inter-school collaborations, or connections with professional institutes or authorities).
  • Student publication of work (online or via paper) as an expectation for keystone projects (such as end of high school online art portfolios which we already do, but extended to other or all departments).
  • More hands-on, inventive work and problem-solving with technology (such as robotics, architecture, programming, and others).

Most of these are not new ideas, but they are key areas for possible growth.  What I guess I see less of is committing major time and resources to new devices, unless they are an obvious fit with above (and easily co-opted, such as how we used iPads to help score a robotics competition last weekend).

Okay, that’s enough for now.  I’m currently on a train to Portsmouth Harbor to visit our boat.  I’m also writing a novel outline at the moment.  Maybe my next personal endeavor is to return to writing fiction, which has always been rewarding to me.  Too bad my day job has gotten in the way for about 25 years.

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