It’s official! As you all know OMHS has been named a BCPS Lighthouse High School and I’m thrilled for the opportunity this brings our staff, students, and community. I could not be more proud of our teachers and staff who are not only enthusiastic for the work that lies ahead, but well prepared in mindset and pedagogical knowledge to begin this work. Many of you have been engaging in this work already and together we are well poised to change learning here at OM.
As is expected, I know many of you have questions, concerns and ideas about what this means and how we’ll roll out devices. We may not have answers to most of your questions because we’re all living through this for the first time, so we appreciate your questions and insights. Please share them on Twitter with the hashtag #LIGHTHOUSEomhs or email Mr. Andre at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is compiling your questions and ideas to help us plan so ask and advise, please! Also, if you haven’t seen the video announcing OM as a Lighthouse HS, check out it out here: LH Video
People keep asking me, “So what does this mean? How will you measure success?” Of course we know that just because we put devices in the hands of students, that alone will not yield instant engagement or improvement. I expect that efficiency of the devices will be measured in terms of what teachers and students need the device to do and how well the device can meet those needs. I see this as similar to how one might measure the performance of a car – it’s usefulness depends on what you need it to do and how well it can do it. We are not, of course, asking the device to make better students or yield higher test scores. So – devices will be in the hands of every student and that will be different, yes. Devices/laptops are not, however, the game changer in terms of yielding improved teaching and learning or student success.
When you get bogged down and frustrated in the potential complexities of our work as a lighthouse school, I will remind you to stay focused on three fundamental questions:
- What do you want students to learn or be able to do? Most often, this will have little to do with technology. It could be the case that students learn to use a new application, but that learning is secondary to the content standard and objective you’re intending students master.
- How will students show they learned or can do what was intended? Again, technology might be used in creating a product, but it’s likely a low-tech option exists.
- What will you do if students learned what was intended and what will you do if they didn’t? Answering the latter question well is the GAME CHANGER! This is where our instructional shift takes place, in determining how to meet students’ needs in a given class period. This is STAT; finding efficient ways to meet students’ needs when they do and don’t get it – that is what Lighthouse high schools will be doing differently.
To answer this third and all too important question, we will utilize effective formative assessment opportunities (information for the teacher and student, not grades) to inform flexible small groups and differentiate tasks (or resources, or processes, or products). And for this, we will leverage technology and change what we do for students. The device is a tool to make us more efficient, just like we might need a car to get us around town.
Buckle up, OM! I’m pumped for the ride. I promise this adventure will not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it! I’m so proud of you for taking on this challenge and can’t wait to begin our work together.