Getting JDHS to COMDEX In Y2K+1

My turn

Posted: Friday, March 09, 2001

Next year at JDHS we will take a giant step toward the use and maintenance of technology in our school. We have secured a Tech-Literacy grant to free up a few key staff members to start working with our English teachers toward increasing the integration of technology to promote literacy for all students. JDHS is ripe for this positive change; a change we can all buy into because we, the staff, witness some small success every day we engage students with technology.

My involvement with the grant will be twofold. I will work with teachers to help define their basic and big-picture technological needs. Likewise, I will be in charge of a class I taught before in the Phoenix Program called TechNet. Through TechNet I will instruct, manage, and advise a group of students to ensure the technology at JDHS is functional, organized, meeting the needs to students and teachers, as well as preparing us all for the 21st century world of work. What I propose to the Juneau community is a powerful kickoff for this vision. My idea is to take a group of committed students to COMDEX 2001 in Chicago from April 1 to April 7. COMDEX is the largest gathering of technological innovators in the country. It is there that new ideas are released, new deals are made, and the edge of technology is polished and sharp. At COMDEX, I want to celebrate technology with my students, let them scavenge for ideas, and work with them to draft student-centered short-range and long-range technology plans for JDHS.

The Phoenix Program was "technology-rich." Technology worked in Phoenix because students owned it; they reported problems, developed skills to fix things on the fly or knew who in the room could help them get out of a jam. Working with my TechNet students has humbled me and made me see a new perspective on "life-long learning." My students had diverse interests. By being given the opportunity to explore their passions and share their results, they educated us all. My students exceeded all the technology standards set by the state of Alaska and they willingly shared their knowledge and time with our program. I learned that my role was to keep these students focused, be a sounding board for ideas, and teach them about timeliness and follow through. My job shifted out of the needs of the situation, so I let go of some of the control I was used to having and likewise shifted some of the class responsibilities to my students. Twelve TechNet students served a community of 120 students and five teachers. Next year I propose to enlist 60 students to serve a community of 1,600 students and 70 teachers. I am working toward making those 60 students a cross-section of our student population. I would like to bring all 60 students to COMDEX, but will settle for 10-12, depending on what the Juneau community will support in such a short timeframe. March 16 is our deadline. You can help make this kickoff a reality by doing one or more of the following:

Donate an Alaska Airlines Companion Certificate to us. As an Alaska Airlines VISA Platinum card-carrying member, you receive one such certificate per year. This will cut our airline expenses in half, so drop yours off at the high school or send it through snail mail to our address below.

Donate cash, a check or money order to help us to purchase the counterpart of the donated companion certificates, as well as pay for housing, conference sessions, and explorations.

Donate Alaska Airlines miles to individual students (see our Web site for details). A full peak award donation of 35,000 miles is necessary because saver tickets are not available on our tentative flight and no partial mileage donations are allowed.

Cash, checks, and companion ticket certificates can be dropped off in the principal's office at JDHS or mailed to: JDHS @ COMDEX 2001, Juneau Douglas High School, 10014 Crazy Horse Drive, Juneau AK 99801

Please look for our commercial on KATH and Channel 6 or surf our Web site at http://technet.n3.net or through the JDHS web site at http://www.jsd.k12.ak.us/jdhs/

Some years ago a team of students, parents, community members, and staff crafted a mission statement for the Juneau School District. It states:

"We are all partners in providing students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to be a contributing citizen in a changing world."

All the pieces are in place for the JDHS @ COMDEX 2001 kickoff, but we need your partnership in helping to work toward our mission.

Gervais is a math teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School.

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