Wednesday, September 01, 2004

In the Beginning...

It all started at NECC (National Education Computing Conference) in New Orleans in June 2004. I was part of a team put together by my principal and we were attending the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Institute. One of the perks of attending the ISTE Institute was receiving a free HP IPAQ Pocket PC. I already had a rinky-dink Palm OS Sony Clie, but its basic use was as a memo-calendar-address book. It really didn't have any bells and whistles to it. The Ipaq was quite interesting, and it used a Windows operating system.

While at the conference, the four of us played around with our new tech tool while developing a plan for our school. Our plan was to get the teachers at our school using the existing technology we had on campus. This technology included mobile Apple iBook computer labs, SmartBoards, and digital cameras. We didn't want to put more of a burden on teachers, so we chose to target a few teachers we felt would be interested in creating a class webpage for the following year. Several freebies were available to help create the webpages: AngelFire, GeoCities, and Netscape Composer. We just needed to return to our school and find out what was doable from the District's point of view.

While at the conference we also attended key sessions and workshops, many of which revolved around using handheld computers in the classroom. This was the beginning of a new journey on a road we hadn't planned on traveling- using handhelds in classrooms at our school.

The plan we created would be put in place at the start of our new school year in 2004-05. We were scheduled to join ISTE in October 2004 at another technology conference so that all the co-horts could share their successes and experiences.