Internet technologies in our high schools
My journey in a high school web site integration project
8h30am. I was en route to one of the worse high school of the region. The worse? It's what people say. Is that because there are some fights in classes that this is the worse school? Worse... it's just a school, it's not a prison. How a school could be as worse as people say? There are only children…
Why am I going to one of the worse high school of the region, at 8h30am? It was to help one of my friends with one of her school project. I was not there as a bodyguard in case that her students start another fight in the class; no.
She's a French teacher and she wondered how to teach the concept of the explicative text. She didn't want to ask them to do a simple explicative text. No, she wanted a full multi-discipline integrated project. What was her project? It was to build a web page for all of her students' explicative text, on the website of the school, for 3 whole groups.
There were some problems. No one in the school ever started such a project. She got some help from the technical staff, but it was long to get them move and work. The real problems were that she needed to build the web site with Dreamweaver. Yup, Dreamweaver. I was astonished to hear it. One of the worse high schools of the region bought 32 Dreamweaver licenses for their computers. I never understood the reason why; but it was a fact. No one in the whole school knows how to use the software. It's why the direction asked her to use it for his web site project.
It's where I do my apparition in the story. I shown her how to use Dreamweaver; I helped her to build the website architecture and I helped her students to build their web pages.
She was really courageous to start such a project and I'm really impressed by what she done. She spent between 30 and 40 hours of non-paid job in the last weeks to build, correct and integrate this website. I have a great respect for these peoples that don't fear things they don't know and work to learn how they work.
9h00am. I was in the class, with her students. I distributed them a sheet that described what they had to do with Dreamweaver to build their web pages. The class his started, the students are wonderful. They worked in team. One was typing the text in their web page and the other was playing with a Flash game, somewhere on the Internet. You are thinking that the procedure was not really productive? In 1 hour, all teams had their text wrote. All web pages had graphs and animated gifts included everywhere. There were no major problems. Yes, it was a productive hour.
10h20am. I couldn't believe it but everything was done, the bell had ring and the class was finished. Was this as worse as people said? Certainly not. The students were wonderful and worked really effectively. I never imagined it before.
It's sure that using Dreamweaver to do this type of project was not the best idea in the world. This is an administrative decision and my friend overcame the problems linked with it. In my high school time I hadn't the possibility to work on such a project. Computers were not what they are today and Internet wasn't really well known. But now we have the technologies to develop such projects, why not using them? I had loved to build a web page when I was studying the explicative text in my French classes.
Are the professors ready to enter in the information age with their students? I don't think so. Only the daring teachers, like my friend, will enter in it. Why? Because technologies are not well understood and much of the time they are hard to use. Building such a project take time, hard work and frustrations. People fear to do it because they don't know how it works or because they don't need to put the time it take to build it.
I encourage teachers to try to integrate technologies such as Internet in their traditional classes. It's always appreciated by students and it will show them the possibilities that such technologies can give them in the future. It's the first step they need to climb to eventually tame technologies. It's not because you are a French teacher that you can't do it; she is and she done it.
16h00pm. Was the school as worse as people say? Definitely not. It's sure that some students have problems, like anybody on this earth, but they were polite and kind. It was a wonderful journey in the worse high school of the region.
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