Barbara Barreda
Educational Institution: St Elisabeth School "Home of the Learning Academies"
Teaching Environment: Pre-School through 8th grade
Web 2.0 Focus: Administration (Blogs, Skype, Voicethread, Flickr)
  • Developing some knowledge and skill with all things Web2.0 is essential and we have learned a great deal by simply finding a few individuals who were willing to learn by doing. While the staff does not currently blog they do read blogs and have learned a great deal from our weekly discussions of what they have read.Critical to our success however has been taking time to build common vision and understanding. In August of this year, exactly one year after beginning our exploration of the tools of Web 2.0 and the skills and literacies our students need to develop, we have significantly revised our mission statement. Our new mission statement written in collaboration with the whole staff states, " The mission of the St. Elisabeth School Learning Academies is to provide an excellent academic and spiritual foundation that will empower the students to be moral and responsible citizens who effectively apply technology as a tool of learning and as a means to actively participate in the global community." This represents our common understanding of our educational objectives. It has helped us to identify the need to learn some new things and to actively embrace learning the basic literacy skills of Web 2.0. It makes just-in-time learning possible because we all understand that there are somethings we need to do that we do not know how to do.
  • While last year I spent a lot of time leading the way, teaching in the classrooms so the teachers could see the tools in action, we now share in the mission. I have moved my modeling from instructing the students to conducting our weekly curriculum and faculty meetings in a way similar to how I expect instruction to look in the classroom. We now have a blog where we take turns as a scribe posting the notes from our meetings. We had a skype presentation from Darren Kuropatwa as part of our meeting time. Teachers have led explorations of a variety of basic literacy skills like effective searches, website validity, blogs etc. and I have scheduled time monthly for a technology playground for the staff.
  • The final thing that I think is critical from an administrative perspective has been seeking every opportunity to reduce the teachers work load so that they had the luxury of time to explore. My job as an administrator is to help them sort out the important from the urgent, to empower them to try, and to be willing to get in the trenches with them.
Teaching and Learning: It is not that technology is"useful" in the sense of easier but rather, for me, it is essential to achieve our goals. It is the means to access knowledge/learning that we all need to master to stay actively involved in our fields. In addition, it is the key component in taking our place as citizens not only of our country but of the global community.
Preferred Applications: Personally, I use Blogger and our Faculty Meetings are scribed on Blogger but for the students we are setting up a learnerblog through Edublogger.
Mentor(s) and Hero(es): Clarence Fisher, Karl Fisch, ISTE Institute, and many, many others
Favorite Web 2.0 Applications Right Now: That's hard.... I think maybe it is Voice thread which we will be using to do scribe posts for learning in our lower grades ( K- 3?). I love all things techie but from an administrative perspective I look for powerful and simple applications that have small learning curves, like Voicethread. Given teachers busy schedules, it is essential to respect their time and offer them sucess without the frustration of a steep learning curve.