Name: Nancy Caramanico
Title: Director of Technology, 4 1/2 years
District: Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Tell us some of your big-picture tech goals for the year.
Encourage innovations in teaching and learning with technology. Foster new uses for effective student engagement and educator professional development. Assist schools in exploring new technology tools, devices and strategies.
What tech accomplishments are you most proud of?
We implemented a program of online professional development offerings. These were through cohort experiences and also offered to all teachers and administrators in our diocese. Our online offerings were delivered via Elluminate webconferencing tool. More than 15 percent of our administrator and teachers attended at least one Virtual Academy session. These were offered after school hours. The topics focused around 21st-century classroom instruction and the incorporation of technology for teaching and learning.
Are you planning to let students BYOD (bring your own device)? If so, when?
This is being implemented in a number of our schools currently. Successes are being shared with other schools looking to move in this direction.
Traditional or online textbooks?
Several schools are piloting online textbooks. Feedback has been very postiive. Students report that they like having the information that they need easily at hand with the use of online textbooks. They can also search and easily find areas of the text that they need.
Can your students/teachers use Facebook, MySpace, or other Web 2.0 tools?
Many of our schools incorporate Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom environment. Teachers have reported increased collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking with new tools such as blogs, wikis, Skype, and more.
Professional development: face to face, online, or blended?
All of the above. We have had very positive feedback from administrators and teachers who have taken advantage of online professional development. They enjoy the convenience of the anytime/anywhere learning and the fact that sessions are archived so that they can revisit them or share them with colleagues. We have also formed online communities for teachers using Ning sites. This was in correlation with our cohort(PLP) and our online Virtual Academies. Educators enjoyed sharing practices with other educators and connecting across counties and around the world with other educators.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
I enjoy online research for genealogy, bike riding, photography and exploring new technology tools and capabilities.