I would not consider myself a hardcore tech nerd, but as a “younger” teacher who is not averse to computers, I am frequently called upon to help out other teachers as they implement technology in their classrooms. Some of you who read this blog probably also fill this role at your school. Well, a former colleague of mine, T.J. Wolfe, now an NC State PhD student, found himself in this position a lot, too. That’s why he developed the CATCHsystem, a website and a system to help teachers easily integrate technology so they can “catch” their students and help them prepare for the future.
So, let’s be up front here — like I said, the developer is a former colleague of mine, and he does also offer his services as a technology coach, for a fee. However, his idea is really good, and there are several free resources on his site as well. First of all, the CATCHsystem — it streamlines and categorizes pretty much everything you can use technology for into five categories. The categories are: Messaging, Productivity, Sites, Documents, and Media. Working with five categories of internet technology should be much less daunting to a technology novice than continually attempting to integrate single sites or web tools. As you look through each category, you may say to yourself, none of these are particularly difficult skills — I mean, who doesn’t know how to use and filter email? Then again, I’ve worked with teachers — smart ones, even — who print every email they receive. It’s easy to forget that not every educator is comfortable with technology.
On the website you can find video tutorials for different components of the CATCHSystem, as well as for some basic tasks that you might want your students to be able to do — download, edit, and share photos, for example. Additionally, on the front page, there is a free eBook, Web 2.0 for the LA Classroom.
In sum, I think the CATCHsystem is a really logical and streamlined way to introduce many of the important uses for technology in education. It can help reluctant teachers as well as students more efficiently use all of the tools that are out there.