Ah, technology and its promises. Ease of use, improved communication, anytime-anywhere learning and living.
What? You’re not buying it?
First, let’s review how a typical family with a child in each division might be using “technology” to participate in the USM community over a 24 hour period. (Okay–so it’s my family.)
10th grader: Check the English Literature blog, the Western Civ blog, the Facebook group on Latin 2, the portal for homework updates, do a webassign for Chemistry, and do vocabulary sentences on the Sophomore English wiki.
6th grader: Check the portal for homework (compare to assignment notebook), enter answers to History on e-Learning site blog, re-enter the answers to History on e-Learning site forum, check French wiki (after Mom reminds you) for assignment, check out lunch for tomorrow.
4th grader: Check portal for homework (compare to assignment notebook); attempt to sign on to GoogleDocs via Google, attempt to sign onto GoogleDocs via portal; beg mom to send email to teacher so you have work for weekend.
Mom: Check portal for all homework, be sure to check French wiki, read sophomore English blog (What? I used to teach high school English!), download US announcements, email Frau Jaeger about school picture order form 10th grader forgot to bring home, check 6th grade History site, check portal for grade comments, read Friday Folder/Friday Footnotes/US Update, read email from teacher about GoogleDocs, . . . .
Dad: What’s a wiki?
I’m guessing, given the number of kids on Mr. Matera’s site last night and the note home from Mrs. Ptak about GoogleDocs, and the extension of Mrs. Kendall’s composition assignment last week, and [insert your story here] that there are still some kinks to work out in “extending the learning experience out of the classroom and into the home.”
Still, I thought it was pretty cool when my 6th grader did the take home quiz for History online. And, you know, it’s nice to have some window into what my 10th grader is doing in school. It’s great, too, that the 4th grade class is learning about GoogleDocs now–saves paper AND reduces lost papers.
So, learn your portal user name and password, set up your NetWildcat account, maybe even update your profile (Really–you have a profile waiting to be updated on the USM portal).
Most of all, be patient. And see what you can learn about USM and what our children are learning.