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Enhancing Communication and Instruction via the Internet

The attached was part of a presentation made before the NYSCSS CONVENTION on Thursday, March 14, 2001

Questions to ask ourselves:

1. What are our instructional goals?
2. How should we view the use of technology?
  • What is real integration?
  • Can technology help us to meet these instructional goals?
3. How can technology help improve student outcomes?
4. How can technology help us to improve communication with parents?
5. What is the role of email for teachers?
6. What web based teacher assistance exist to help improve instruction and assessment? (Filamentality, RubiStar, Other sites)
7. What is the role of the teacher web site? How can I make one easily?
8. How can teacher productivity software help make teachers more efficient? (School Maestro, EXAMgen)
9.Sharing of Best Practices
General Educational Goals:
  • Improve student outcomes
  • Motivate students
  • Inspire creativity
  • Enhance communication with parents
  • Allow for divergent learning styles
  • Differentiate instruction
  • Provide intervention services for students at risk
  • Enhance teacher efficiency

What is the role of technology in our classrooms?

  • Technology is a tool in the tool box, not the motor that drives education.
  • Technology works best when it is truly integrated.
  • Integration means you do not really have to think about "doing technology." It is just something you do!
  • Technology should not be used just to say you use technology, it must have purpose.

How can technology help improve student outcomes?

  • Teachers can develop lessons that reach students with different learning styles. Try finding songs, pictures and art work. You can even have students create presentations, web sites and images.
  • It can assist us in differentiating instruction. Developing work at varying levels is easier if handouts and exams are word processed. Group and individual lessons using web sites can be specifically geared to students' needs.
  • Technology, specifically word processing, speech recognition, lap tops and PDAs can provide assistive technology for students with disabilities.
  • The Internet clearly has revolutionized student research. In some ways this has been for the better and in some ways worse. - Oswego City School District's site. An excellent resource for on line prep. - Computer test bank Regents prep.Great product for remediation. - Web based test bank Regents prep from the Castle software.

  • There are wonderful web sites and software packages that students can use to help themselves. For example, CASTLE software makes a database program that students can use to practice regents questions. In addition, the Oswego City School district has created a wonderful web site for web based Regents prep.
  • The Internet has been of great help with DBQs. Students and teachers can find documents to create their own DBQs. Large screen demonstrations easily bring images into the classroom.
  • Many students find presentations such as PowerPoint and live cam web sites motivating. They are not, however, replacements for the dynamic quality of the blackboard. For example, show the class a live web feed of the Panama Canal!
  • Using grade book programs, like the one I will show later, students can be kept more up to date of their academic progress. When they see their grades evolve they tend to be more focused.
How can technology help us to improve communication with parents and students?
What is the role of email for teachers?
  • Teacher productivity software like School Maestro put grade reports on line for free. Providing parents with easy access to information helps them to stay informed. - School Maestro, an excellent grade book program with free utility to put grades on line.

  • Using email to communicate with parents helps us to get in touch with working and single parent families.
  • Consider allowing students to email you missing homework or to ask questions. Be aware of the dangers of doing this and act accordingly.
  • Having students access their grades on line is a powerful motivational tool.
  • Teacher web sites, as we will discuss, can be a hub for communication with parents and students.

What web based teacher assistance exists to help improve instruction and assessment? (Just a few, this is a whole session by itself!)

  • Filamentality - create a web quest using a simple template.
  • RubiStar - create and print your own rubric. - create your own on line web quest.

  • National Archives and Records Administration - thousands of documents and images.
  • Thousands of other web sites

What is the role of the teacher web site? How can I make one easily?

  • The teacher web site becomes a hub for communication between teachers, parents and students.
  • You can provide access to grades on line, homework assignments, review sheets, notes, extra credit projects and anything else you can imagine.
  • Teacher web sites can be free and easy to set up. - easy to use template based web sites. FREE!!!! - template based free space. VERY easy, more like a web based intranet. - free web pages (space), email and basic information on technology integration. - cheap shameless plug of my own web site!

How can teacher productivity software help make teachers more efficient?

  • School Maestro, or other grade book programs save hours and hours of time come report card time. They are easier to use than ever and quite flexible. School Maestro will also post grades on line for free... and it's as simple as the click of a button!
  • Test bank generator programs like EXAMgen save countless hours. Visit them at

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