Sunday, December 12, 2010

Did you catch the number of that bus?

I started teaching four years after the Education for All Handicapped Law was passed. Maybe five.

"I'll take history for $400-Alex"
In what year were the public schools required to accept all children?

Me: (only person to ring in- well not really ring in this was a DOE professional development session)- I just called out- 1974

Buzz-wrong- 1973

Okay-I was the only one in the professional development session of twenty-five people who attempted that one- how much closer did they want me to get?

I started as a Special Education Teacher in 1978- four or five years (depending on who you believe) after the passing of the law requiring written Individual Education Plans for all students with disabilities.I've written a lot of IEPs. I've written them on yellow onion skinned paper separated by four carbon papers. I've written them on carbonless specially treated copy paper,and I've written them on computer programs designed by social studies teachers, programs that have no save button, and can be overwritten or erased with a single key stroke.

Five years ago the Hehir Report suggested, (demanded?) that New York City put into practice a Web-Bases IEP system. This year they did. Welcome to the 21st Century- Mayor Bloomberg says that the new chancellor is qualified for the job because she knows what skills NYC students will need for the 21st Century- It only took the Department itself a complete decade to figure out what skills it might need.

So off we go into Web-based IEP world. Ten years ago, when the above mentioned computer program designed by a social studies teacher came into existence, and the DOE was the old Board of Education, organized around geographic districts, I worked as a staff developer training teachers how to use the system. With varying success- some people stared, amazed that I was showing them how to scroll down a page, or choose options from a menu. I might as well been asking them how to turn on the water faucet or use the tv remote. And then there was the teacher who when I asked her to double click the mouse- looked at me and said,""We got rid of our rodent problem"

In fact clicking the mouse to open the program became my acid test to whether things were going to go well or not- if the staff member immediately opened the program by double clicking the desktop icon- it was going to be a good day. If I needed to go over the structure of the right, left side of the mouse, practice depressing quickly in two short strokes, and guide the hand that moved the cursor it was going to be a long day. About 30% of them were.

But a decade passed. I went back to teaching young people. And those who thought that using computers was a task for a future other than their's- retired. (I went to visit one friend in Florida, who asked as long as I was there- could I take the IEP icon off her desktop- it gave her agita to look at it.

Friday I found myself in a computer room coincidentally on the same floor of the office building I worked in the old Distric Board of Ed days. A young woman born long after the passage of the Education for all Handicapped Act, hustled us at lightening speed through the new web-based computer program
"Don't worry" she assured us- she learned the program from the ipsy-spiffy video clips attached to the program and we could too

"Were we expected to turnkey the new program to the other staff in our schools?"
No little presenter didn't like that word- just point them in the direction of the ipsy-spiffy video clips.

When does this new system begin- immediately- old system gone- in order to be federal compliance we must use it now!

No cause for panic little presenter assured us, we could practice over the weekend using ipsy spiffy little video clips and then we could all magically transfer our newly gained knowledge to the other IEP writers in our school- just click on this button and then that button and then the intranet button and we could access it all. So we did. Everybody in room could double click. But do we know what intranet means?

Apparently not- the button worked fine in the office, not at home.

The Union sent me a survey about the training. The last question asked if I saw any flaws in the actual program.

How can I tell- I still trying to figure out what bus hit me?

No comments:

Post a Comment