Overcoming Obstacles
“Cultivating Digital Educators”

Frieda Foxworth
Lexington, South Carolina, USA
Blog: http://friedafoxworth.edublogs.org/ 

Ron Bosch 
Lexington, South Carolina, USA

John Geanangel
Lexington, South Carolina, USA

Presentation Title
“Cultivating Digital Educators”

Frieda Foxworth and Ron Bosch are fifth grade teachers at Red Bank Elementary School. They are partner teachers in a technology-enriched classroom. Their class, the 21st Century Classroom, was begun as a pilot program in their district in 2003. John Geanangel has been their Technology Integration Specialist since 2002. Their school now has 5 similar 2 to 1 computing classrooms in a program called Global Horizons. They have overcome many challenges and continue to work through new ones as they have worked to create a culture of digital educators. They have given presentations about our program at district, state, and national levels.

How do you transform a traditional school environment into one where teachers effectively use technology for collaboration, curriculum development, instructional delivery, and student engagement? It doesn’t happen overnight, and many challenges must be overcome. Changes must be made in the pedagogical attitudes of both administrators and teachers. Necessary equipment must be secured within the realm of limited budgets. Educators must be transformed from lone workers on an island into contributing members of a collaborative community. Instructional practices must shift to keep pace with the daily changes occurring in the global digital world. This presentation will share how these obstacles have been overcome, and how transformation is taking place at one elementary school. Vision and leadership have paved the way for teachers to embrace radical change that is occurring through the taking of many ‘baby steps.’ Web 2.0 tools have played an important role in this process. A wiki was used to develop the Global Horizons Technology Initiative, a plan for creating classrooms committed to technology-integrated instructional practices. Wikis have also been used by teachers for grade-level collaborative planning and by students for writing stories online with a partner. Blogs are beginning to be used for staff development, as a parent communication tool, and for the delivery of some instructional activities. Students are learning to use a blog as a way to reflect on learning. A podcast will be used to make this presentation and will include samples of the solutions listed above.



On this day..

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6 Responses to “Overcoming Obstacles
“Cultivating Digital Educators””

  1. Thank you for telling your story. Your panel conversation approach worked well and you also portray how an entire school can move towards effective classroom practice.

    Freida, feel free to contact me about connecting with a grade 5 class….I can put you in touch with some classrooms that may be interested in collaboration.

  2. […] Frieda Foxworth, Ron Bosch, and John Geanangel collaborated to present the session on “Cultivating Digital Educators” for K-12 Online 2006 in the Overcoming Obstacles strand. I was able to watch and reflect on their excellent presentation this afternoon as I flew from Dallas to Los Angeles enroute to a conference, and I really enjoyed their presentation. I have uploaded some video feedback for them to YouTube as well. […]

  3. […] The more I become immersed in Web 2.0, the more convinced I become that we are on the front edge (or perhaps even in the midst) of a cultural revolution of mammoth proportions that will affect every corner of the globe…both in the educational realm and in the lives of individuals.  As I expressed in my last post, it can be a little discouraging to try to move forward when so few people in your immediate world share the vision.  That’s one of the wondrous benefits of the ability to be involved in a world-wide learning community like the K12 Online Conference.  That conference with its live discussion components was an effective demonstration of the  quote by Roszak.  I believe that Roszak fears this cultural change, but as an educator, I can see how the ability to interact with anyone on the planet opens the door to unlimited potential for learning, creativity, and bridge-building.   I was so encouraged by Wes Fryer’s comments about our presentation, Cultivating Digital Educators.   It’s very affirming to know that your voice has been heard and validated!  Thanks, Wes!  […]

  4. Marie Watson says:

    I agree with you that we are in the midst of a mammoth cultural evolution and revolution in technology. I think that as we become more sophisticated with technology, we also have more responsibility. The dichotomy that exists in society today is, at the present, amplified with technology. In schools, we have the opportunity to provide students with equalization through technology. It can narrow the gap between those who have access in the homes and those who do not.

    At the same time, the values held by people can be amplified through technology. We can live longer, learn faster, ask more questions, go to places in our minds and bodies through technology more than ever before in history. Technolgy can also be utilized to stalk, terrorize, and abuse others.

    This is where responsibility plays into the role of teaching and learning with technology. Students are exposed to events as they happen and view violence and tragedy in such ways that they are de-sensitized to humanness. So many of them are in homes where drug abuse, sexual abuse, harsh language, and crimes are a way of life.

    For our students today, technology is nothing new, though it is ever new. The constant change, new technologies, and availability are ordinary. Our responsibility as educators is never more challenging than today, nor more exciting. Through technology, we can level the playing ground, open the eyes of students to the plight of others around the world, and teach them to think, to inquire, and to look inward and outward to make this a better world.

  5. […] Tom Hoffman writes about the possibility of a low-cost laptop on the horizon. The Palms have provided a low-cost option as well. My concerns about lack of internet access still exists but they have begun to provide a learning environment that embraces much of what is right about digital learning. The point is we have to continue to find ways to get this in students hands. I’m reminded of the presentation from the K-12 Online Conference dealing with a 2-1 environment. I think of Pam Shoemaker’s involvement with having parents purchase the laptops. In any case, we have teachers and administrators commitmed to the idea of getting computers in students’ hands. With teachers this passionate about students and access, it’s not likely these types of efforts would fail. The failings of other initiatives come from mass roll outs when many teachers aren’t ready or able to make the adjustments in pedagogy. But when teachers are ready and want their students to have access, I say to administrators and central office decision makers, “just do it“. Find a way to get it done. […]

  6. […] It was refreshing to listen to this vodcast from the Red Bank Elementary School as my final reflection session of the K12 Online Conference.  Refreshing because I listened to people in the trenches who not only had the vision of how technology could change their teaching but actually put it together.  One of the pieces that I thought that helped their project was the fact that the resources were well thought out and planned out.  Issues were not dealt with in a knee jerk reaction and their impact went beyond their classroom to include their school, district, and now on a global stage.  […]

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