Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Power of Public Sharing

Lynch, Nebraska, population 236 (2013 census) to me has always been the epitome of rural community pride.  It is home to thriving businesses, genuine people, and a great getaway for anyone desiring a break from the beaten path.

Lynch Public School continues to try and push the envelope with technology amidst the realities of declining population, waning financial support, and public opinion encouraging consolidation or closure.

During the current school year Lynch Public School set a goal to host a Technology Fair with the intent of showcasing technology usage across the K-12 school. Efforts began early, and by partnering with ESU 8, teachers were provided related training and ongoing support. Teachers chose a variety of projects and tech skills to implement in their classrooms and subject areas. Plans were shared across the staff so that duplicate ideas were avoided and a wide variety of exemplars could be showcased.

For the Tech Fair each teacher hosted a “booth.” All students were encouraged to attend and demonstrate technology skills they had gained from their classroom experiences. The entire community was invited to attend, and like any good open house, refreshments were served. :-)

On their own initiative the staff worked together to create a plan for the delivery of the experience, open to the public. They set up projector screens back to back in the middle of the gym and positioned additional tables around the outside edges of the gym. Every available projector from a classroom was moved to a table station. Some stations required speakers and/or headphones, while others just required iPads or laptops to demonstrate. 

2016_03 Lynch Tech Fair
Click the above image to view the Flickr album of photos from the event.
Some of the high level student work that was shared included:
  • iMovies of classroom activities (“A Day in the Life”)
  • Instructional videos (PE and Industrial Tech skills)
  • Augmented Reality projects (“About Me” and science…)
  • Robotics
  • iXL Math
  • Kahoot online quiz games
  • Digital books created with iBooks Author (World War II)
  • Digital books created on iPad with Book Creator app (Weather Instruments)
  • 20% Project Presentations (student-directed scientific research projects)
  • Green screen videos (music videos and more!)
  • Online portfolios (Art portfolios built with Smore)
  • SMART Board activities in English Language Arts
  • Learning journals with the SeeSaw app
  • Sketchup (3D design) 
The event was well attended. Many parents, grandparents, and additional family members were treated to a more in-depth personal exposure to each student’s learning experiences with technology. Another positive outcome was the visitors who were not necessarily relatives of the students, but simply interested community patrons. To be able to demonstrate the value of tax payers’ money and the purposeful impact the school is making for youth is an absolute win-win for all. 

I have often said that it is our personal responsibility as educators to promote the positive things that are happening in our classrooms.  Lynch Public School took on this task and more with their collective efforts around the Tech Fair.  They proved once again that no matter your school’s size, you can be an example to others— an example that I hope to see others following in the near future. Whether through online spaces, in the media, or simply inviting the community in for an experience like a Technology Fair, we all can be advocates for technology-enhanced education through the power of public sharing. 

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