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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Technology-enabled Substitutes

Yesterday, The substitutes of one of the school districts I work for participated in professional development. They learned how to access the teacher's websites and to use the Smartboards. Technology-enabled substitutes will be able to carry on with lessons in the technology-enabled classrooms when the teachers are away. The laptops can still come out and the students do not have to complete worksheets all day long.
The substitutes spent the morning in trainings and the afternoons with teachers in their rooms learning how technology is used in the classroom. This experience was the first of its kind that I ever witnessed. The principal also conducted a training session with the substitutes on how to be an effective substitute in the district. This planning for school-wide and student success is commendable. We will provide substitutes with a list of every teacher's website until the district website can be updated to include that information. They were also given directions for laptop basics and turning on projectors and smartboards.  An issue still outstanding is the ability to log into the teacher laptops.  A substitute username and password will have to be enabled on all machines and laptops that are connected to the smartboards. It would
be helpful to create hotsheets for each room that is technology enabled for the subs with quick reference sheets for the programs the students may be using.  We should also create a substitute website that has information and training tutorials.  Since the technology-enabled substitutes will be called first to serve in those classrooms, it does provide incentive for them to learn on an ongoing basis.
On a sad note, in another school, the susbstitutes  allowed students from another class to use the 6th grader's laptops.  Substitutes need to follow the plans we leave for them as teachers, they definetly shoud never allow students to tell them what they "usually" do, because the students "usually" lie  to substitutes.  When in doubt, check with another teacher nearby, call the office and just maintain that it is your responsibility to follow the teacher's plans.  As a teacher it is hard enough to miss a day with our class, it causes huge problems when susbtitutes deviate from our plans.  We spend time getting those plans ready and it is frustrating  when we come back to havoc. In this instance, the offending students tried to visit blocked sites, they changed the students backgrounds and settings and added items to their favorites.
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