Digital Wave got its start in the summer of 1994, when the headmaster of the school where I currently teach, and the headmaster of the school where I was then teaching, made it possible for faculty at both schools to participate in technology workshops hosted by my current school. My role was to organize and teach the sessions, the focus of which was to assist folks with getting comfortable using computers and basic applications.
Sessions have been offered every summer save one since 1994, with each year’s format and topics being updated to reflect emerging trends in the world of technology, needs of faculty, and alternative methods for sharing information. Along the way, multiple students have been part of the process, acting as teachers and co-facilitators.
The sessions of the early years were open to faculty from other schools, both as participants and facilitators. One summer there were upwards of 80 faculty from a multitude of schools taking sessions offered by 12 other faculty. However, as more and more independent schools, including my school, began laptop programs, many of these schools started their own in-house tech workshops, and Digital Wave became exclusively an RCDS endeavor.
Following the focus of Digital Wave over the past 15 years provides a fascinating look at how the use of technology has morphed in the world of independent school education. In the very first session the topic was “making the most of the Macintosh” and we used ClarisWorks 2.0 and various content-specific programs. Anyone familiar with these: PageMaker, Painter & Freehand, Geometer’s Sketchpad, HyperCard (alas, no longer in use), HyperStudio, FileMaker, Microworlds, PageMill, BBedit, Graphic Converter, Now Up To Date, PhotoShop, Inspiration, FirstClass, Table Top, and HomePage. These applications filled our first seven years, along with tips sessions, all types of Internet sessions, and sessions on using one computer in the classroom.
Around 2001 we began pushing digital video and imagery, with sessions on camera use, scanning, iMovie, QuickTime, SnapsPro, LiveSlideShow, plus continued teaching of software for making web pages with a switch to Dreamweaver. 2004 saw the ushering in of student participation, often as teachers but also as assistants. If you didn’t already know this, it turns out students are super at collaborating one-on-one with faculty in teaching how to use programs and offering useful suggestions for their use in classes. Hmm, a classic case of asking the experts for their feedback 😉 (Hey students, what works for you as a member of my class?) Around this time sessions on MS Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) entered our summer repertoire. We also started focusing more on integrating technology into the curriculum, instead of teaching applications in quasi-isolation (both to the students during the school year, and the faculty during the summer workshops).
From 2005 to 2008, workshops wove in Apple’s iSuite (iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iPod), along with Mac OS Tips and Tricks. All of our desktop computers had always been Apples, and during these years the balance of laptops switched from being mostly PCs to mostly Macs. In 2007 we added workshops on Smart Boards, as our school began installation of what would eventually wind up being 70 Smart Boards. Wikis, blogs, Google apps (Docs, Spreadsheets, and Earth), along with Flash, digital grade books, more on FirstClass email and FileMaker, and podcasting tools, highlighted the sessions of the past two summers.
STUDENTS ON TECH
In November of 2007 I offered an idea for our professional development day entitled Digital Natives, Diverse Learners. Here is the pitch I made to our Curriculum Council, and here are some of the resources I provided. The pitch struck out, partially because it was competing with other themes of the year (Sustainability and Diversity).
I am DELIGHTED to say that on Monday of this week, we presented Students on Tech to a highly appreciative group of faculty. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post with details on the student sessions! (Would add them now, but this is already a long post!)