Imagine if every teacher could utilize technology fluidly in their lesson plans. Imagine if students could take classes at other schools via video teleconferencing. Imagine if students used their cell phones to text in response to last night's reading. Imagine if a Spanish class in Chicago had daily speaking sessions in English and Spanish with a classroom in Mexico City. We believe if our recommendations are adopted those dreams could be a reality. Our ultimate goal is to improve high schools by creating and enforcing strong, innovative recommendations for Chicago Public Schools.
After more than 120 hours of intense research, we found out how schools nationwide implement technology engaging their students in learning both inside and outside of the classroom. We also found examples of new devices and programs that could expand and improve the techniques teachers use in the classroom. The recommendations that we viewed as most essential were broken into six areas that we call "buckets". The six buckets are: Teaching, Learning, Technology Policy, Resources, Communication and School Culture.
The Education Council has chosen 6 recommendations we considering most important. We believe these 6 recommendations are the most crucial and organic to our movement of bringing CPS into the 21st century.
- CPS should offer mandatory semester workshops for teachers on successfully utilizing technology in the classroom.
- If a course is not offered at a student's school, he or she should be allowed to take the course at a different school through video conferencing, while still being in his/her school.
- Teachers should have a personal password for the use of unblocking CPS "restricted" websites for educational purposes. The principal's discretion will determine which websites can be viewed.
- Cell phones should be allowed during passing periods, lunch and as a teacher-defined learning tool (e.g. as for research, surveying students and background knowledge).
- CPS should be equipping schools with iPod touches, Mac Books, Flip Cams, and Smart boards to enhance the classroom experience by building sponsorships with companies who can provide them.
- There should be a video that CPS shows city-wide, as well as student-led programs for students in schools about the dangers of sexting and cyber-bullying and their consequences.
We look forward to this report generating conversations throughout the city and the nation. Integrating technology into education is not an easy task, but it is necessary for education in the 21st century. We believe that these recommendations can help make it possible.