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June 9, 2011 / Sarah Ludwig

Looking ahead

It’s crazy to be thinking about this on the last day of school, but all it took was this article on the need for tutors in NYC’s elite independent school world to get me musing. So in the interest of getting my ideas down on paper, here are some jumping-off points for next year:

  • Explore the idea of building a Writing Center, co-sponsored by the English department, which would provide training and peer support for students completing research and analytical papers – or any kind of writing, really – in the Upper School.
  • Embed student assessment into the learning process, including having students write reflections or reflect on camera. Have students write in process blogs or simply jot down their thoughts. This worked very well with the Wikipedia project and I’d like to do it more.
  • Think about collaboration in terms of tools and concepts. Much of what I have done this year is work with teachers on the former – Glogster, Voicethread, etc. – and I’m interested in developing more connections based on content – digital citizenship, copyright, using cloud-based tools for organization, digital resource evaluation, etc.
  • Develop and discuss – but not necessarily implement – a semester-long course on media and information literacy, as a cross-curricular offering taught by librarians, classroom teachers, and myself. This could be an elective for seniors, or more of a foundation course for younger students. I am especially interested in learning more about the Media 21 program developed by Buffy Hamilton.
  • Use LiveBinders in a more organized way to offer pathfinders and research guides for our students. This means they need to have one destination for all of their guides.
  • Think about ways to gather student work in a more organized way. Right now we are using the digital projects page to highlight work, but there could be a way for our teachers to collect their student’s work in such a way that makes that work available to others in our community, as a learning bank.
  • Work more on the information and digital literacy benchmarks that I’ve started hammering away at, especially in terms of planning a trajectory for our lower school students. What do we want them to have at the end of each year? Is there an overarching theme that we can apply to each year, or should the focus be more on supporting the curriculum and developing projects on a more case-by-case basis?
  • Brainstorm ways to best serve our youngest students. For them, computer class is a building block, a foundation for the more challenging and content-rich experiences they’ll have as they grow here. How can we best support that?

In addition, I need to think about providing professional development for our faculty. The 19 Things project was a success and should continue in some capacity next year. I have been asked to provide training in TurnItIn and research skills (including Wikipedia) in the fall, which is awesome. How else can I offer training to teachers in an accessible way? I’ll be brainstorming this summer.

Before I sign off, I should mention that it has been an amazing year at Hamden Hall, due in great part to my relationship with Lorri Carroll, our Director of Technology. Working with Lorri has been the best professional experience I’ve ever had, because of how positive, open, and innovative she is. I always feel like Lorri’s got my back. And I’ve had the chance to work with some great teachers, too – people who love their job, always want to try new things, and have the best interests of their students at heart. And, of course, the kids are amazing. I love these students.

Happy summer!


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