Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm beaming!

We were supposed to have an orientation meeting today with various teachers who we expect to participate in the Direct to Discovery Internet 2 project. However, this is a really tough time of year to pull teachers out of the classroom. Out of the twenty-something I invited, only six actually RSVP'd, so we decided to postpone the even with the hopes of a better turn out later.

So why am I beaming?

Well, one of the teachers who did RSVP is a Healthcare Career Tech teacher in his second year of teaching. I had never met him before, but just in my brief correspondence via email he sounded very enthusiastic about using technology with his students. Right now while his high school is undergoing massive renovations, he's in a trailer with no technology access to speak of. Beginning in the fall, he'll go from none to twelve! Wanting to ensure the investment in his classroom is put to good use, he asked if he could go ahead and spend the day with me so I could show him some ways he could put those computers to use. Substitutes are hard to come by and he already had his sub plans written, so I said, "Sure." That and any chance I can get to show another person about the wonderful Web2.0 tools that are out there, I jump on it.

I started with something simple like Google Docs and his eyes lit up. Then I exposed him to social bookmarking. He sat up straight and the gears started turning, especially when I asked him where his favorites were. Not on one, two, but THREE different computers. Then I showed him wikispaces and the lightbulb went off. In a voice full of what I can only describe as awe, he said, and I'm paraphrasing him, "This could change the way we teach." (Cue the heavenly music).

While I was showing him each tool, we discussed how he could integrate it into his teaching practices. I know I probably overwhelmed him, but he's excited and energetic. He left with a brand new Google account and having created his classroom wiki. That and he's vowed to share what he's learned with his fellow teachers. Here's hoping this goes viral - if at least a little.

Technorati tags: professional development, web2.0


Vicki A. Davis said...

Your post will be featured on my blog tomorrow. I am so inspired and I love it. It is great!

This is how good professional development looks and feels. In the best scenarios, people work with someone they know in a way customized to their situation and the "light bulb" goes on and they leave with something "set up." This is good PD and we should pass the lighted candle from person to person like this.

Expect a link to your blog post on my blog in the morning. I just twittered you too! Wow!

Shelley said...

W00t! Such a great story, wonderfully told!

If you have thoughts to share about educators managing their digital identity in the social networking era, I'd love to hear them over at Relax. No, really.

Keep singing that song!

McTeach said...

Now, that was a good day! Reminds me of the phrase, "Even a giant waterfall begins with one drop."

To be an inspiration to another human there anything better?!

Jerry Swiatek said...

That is the moment I'm waiting for at my school. I have been working hard to generate some excitement and slowly but surely things are beginning to fall in place. I just had a teacher come to me and ask how she can set up a blog for her Intensive Writing students to write about the books they read over the summer. This is HUGE!!! I've had a hard enough time convincing many that email needs to be used. I haven't had anything half as exciting as has happened to you but I certainly cannot wait for my "beaming" moment. Congrats to you!!!

Diane Hammond said...

"While I was showing him each tool, we discussed how he could integrate it into his teaching practices."

There's your buy-in! Congratulations, you deserve to beam from ear-to-ear!

a churches said...

Nice one. You did a good job.
Thats made my day


kimberly Brown said...

What a great story! Every time I hear of new Web 2.0 tool I pause and think of how I can use this in my teaching. This teacher is right, it does change how we teach. We should no longer be standing in the front of a classroom but facilitating opportunities for student learning. Blogs, wikis and social networking tools all allow for networked learning which I hope are creating better global citizens.

Robert said...

Our music dept had our scheduling meeting Friday (9 music teachers in our district scattered), and they were all confused as to why I was so excited to finally have wifi at the high school.
When as we went through the meeting, I entered things into my Google Calendar. One teacher asked if it could be printed, and I replied, "I got one better. The link has been emailed to all of you, to view AND edit as needed. Enjoy"

Awe-struck...all of 'em!

Caroline OBannon said...

Vicki - Thank you for featuring my post. I feel honored. In my experience have found 1 to 1 to work well for me, but it's rare that I get the opportunity to do this for an hour, much less a full day. I'm very thankful that we were able to have this time and I'm anxious to see where he goes from here. I've already told him that I'll help him out however I can. If I can make his "candle" burn brightly, hopefully others will take notice and want theirs lit, too!

Caroline OBannon said...

@shelley - Thank you Shelley! It was a great experience that was a great early start to my weekend.

@mcteach - "Even a giant waterfall begins with one drop." Thank you for sharing that. I think that will become my new email signature quote. What a great thought that hopefully I can be a waterfall one day!

@Jerry Swiatek Congratulations on the teacher who wants to blog with students!! That's awesome! It's those moments that make it worth it, right? Keep at it and support that teacher. I've found that when one starts up a project and gets some attention, it makes others curious. Thank you for sharing!

@diane - We started out with what he planned on teaching from now until the end of the school year and I had him focus on that as we went through the tools. I found that as we stayed focused on his curriculum, he began to see the uses of the tools. I know I was grinning ear to ear just watching him get excited.

@a churches - Thank you!

@Kimberly "This teacher is right, it does change how we teach. We should no longer be standing in the front of a classroom but facilitating opportunities for student learning." - He already had that "facilitator" mindset (thankfully), but wasn't quite sure how to use the computers for student-centered learning. He's got head full of ideas now though and he saw the possibilities and potential impact that social networking could have on him professionally and his students.

@Robert - Sometimes it's the little things like sharing a calendar that can spark greater things. I'm finding that whenever I show how I've used these tools it tends to spark interest. That's when I move in for the proverbial "kill". I've gotten quite few people in our central office using some of these tools like that. Isn't it amazing how a little website like that can make someone awestruck? Keep it up!