Monday, November 30, 2009

Access, Equity and Resources

I just finished reviewing and summarizing technology planning data results collected from k-12 students from a rural school district in the MidWest. It is amazing how honest students are with sharing their insights on school needs and what is lacking in their teaching and learning environments. There were some glaring results that all students identified, which included the lack of Internet access, equity and quality of technology resources in their school. They were clearly frustrated with what their school was NOT providing them, and how within their home environments that have much better technology tools and Internet access.

I feel for these impoverished school districts. Many times the appointed team of administrators are overwhelmed themselves and they all wearing multiple hats to keep their schools afloat, and they are truly doing the best they can. The Superintendent in this case is just an interim stepping foot into the building maybe twice or three times a month to sign papers, collect his/her pay check- but does little to make a positive and effective change for a district in such need of help and repair. How does one go about making a significant change or difference with very limited community, school board, or business support- I keep asking myself?

The EETT and ARRA grants I write for these districts are stretched so far between all the rural districts who are in the same boat financially. How can these districts make a positive difference with very little dollars flowing from our federal and state government for supporting educational initiatives? By these large inequities of funding and lacking of teaching and learning tools between the haves and have not school districts in the Mid West, I see a greater setback in the quality of education, instruction and technology literacy skill set opportunities that are delivered to our 21st century digital native students. Our educators are clearly burned out, they are lacking the passion and motivation to inspire student learning in some cases. I feel their pain and so want to make change for them and assist them with moving forward.

During these economic and educational budget setbacks and hardships, we need to look outside of the box for answers and leadership initiatives. We need to be very creative in our thinking and strategic planning processes to succeed. The path I have chosen and have shared with others is a path to "ignite a passion of teaching and learning" with every educator I meet. I have recently put together an educator grant list, to assist educators in finding simplified grants to write, fund and support their passion for teaching and learning once again. As we know, the schools do not have the government funding and endowments they once had, so educators need to be part of this proactive process of supporting and searching out funding and technology resources. It truly is amazing all of the grant dollars and funding opportunities that are out there to support educational and technology initiatives, and how they can be obtained with very little effort on the educators or school districts behalf.

Yes, the effort lies in the "time" and the "time issue" seems to be the greatest factor of individuals holding back or for others to say "no," and not take the risk to make a positive and life changing difference with their teaching practice and/or make a impact with their 21st century students. My only request to all of you- please say "yes" over this holiday season.  Give back to your students through a special technology integration global project to open their eyes to a world of opportunity and fulfillment.  Enhance and enrich your teaching collection and learning resources to once again "ignite your passion for teaching" and to continue to inspire life long learners amongst ALL of your students!

My gift to all of you to make a difference in your classroom and with your students- is access to my grant collection list of "Educator Grant Opportunities To Pursue" found in my shared files widget on the left sidebar of this blog. Enjoy and have fun with the many possibilities that await you.

And....Thanks to all of you for inspiring me to "ignite my passion" everyday!

~ Naomi ~

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fall Awakening in Brownsville, MN

What a beautiful time of year to enjoy the sights, scenes and smells of the great outdoors before we hit the harsh coldness of winter. In our Brownsville, MN area we have been enjoying the beautiful Fall panoramic views and sounds of the season with the arrival of the snow geese, tundra swans, white pelicans, and a variety of ducks on the Mississippi River. Just 3 miles south of our home is a newly developed overlook to view and watch the beautiful birds that have arrived to take a break from their migration route during the months of late October through December. It is a spectacular site and "a must scenic drive" for Fall travelers.

There has been a lot of activity in our area for avid photographers to take that picture perfect photo of these birds, or to capture a video clip to showcase the beauty of this secluded area. Take a look at this latest clip from "Mory" from Wisconsin of his early morning video capture from last weekend- well done Mory!

Lastly, here is an Animoto video I have put together to share with all of you to experience the "Fall Awakening"' in our area, even if you do not get a chance to travel to this part of the country. Enjoy!