This article is interesting because I think it would be a good way to handle technology professional development at my school. The series made me start brainstorming different opportunities for different levels of expertise:
- Demonstration and practice with the beginners
- One-on-one sessions with all levels
- A blog or wiki to share ideas, frustations, and successes
- Tech help when using the mobile labs
- Tech planning days
Then there was one section that described the type of learners as a new technology is introduced in the school environment. I immediately labeled myself an innovator not because I consider myself a technology genius, but I love trying stuff out in the classroom. Overtime I have gotten use to the failures so it doesn't scare me to try again.
I kept reading until I got to the part where they label the innovators as loners. It's true! I wish there was someone in my building that would help me grow as a professional, but there isn't. If I admit something doesn't work for me, others take it as a sign that it won't work for them. I feel bad when I don't have an immediate answer to others' tech issues because I am afraid they will give up. Maybe there are innovators in the building, they just are not easy to see?
Before I took the technology position, I was a Reading/Language Arts teacher. Back then I was important in the building. My opinion mattered when it came to instruction and data. When my students made strides people cared and wanted to know what I did to try to replicate it. I was on many committees and in the thick of it, but all of that disappeared. I don't understand why?
Technology is the present and the future. I keep waiting to see my students apply their skills in other classes, but there are no opportunities for them.
I want to scream from the stage in the cafeteria: It matters! My class matters! Look what these kids are capable of! Even the ones you throw out of class because they won't work! All of this matters!
In the past three years I have been attending the National Middle School Association conference and found lots of information. I declared I wasn't attending this year because the issues in middle school haven't changed and last year there were so few sessions about technology. Plus when I got back to my school, there were so few opportunities to share what I had learn. This year I wanted to attend a conference where I could share in learning with educators like myself. While my school colleagues are keeping track of the countdown until the end of the school year, I follow my NECC countdown on my 2008 DEN calendar.
Then the second amazing event, I was invited to the DEN National Institute. I applied last year and was completely bummed when I wasn't accepted. This year I applied day one, but was determined not to get my hopes up. On April 18th, I received the email that I was accepted and have been on cloud nine ever since. By the way, if you haven't become a Star educator yet, what are you waiting for?
It was incredible that I would have two amazing summer experiences, but was I ready. I felt like a kid again with the birthday party invitation and not knowing what to where or what to bring. So I set out on a mission, I was coming to both parties prepared.
- I set up a gmail account for all tech stuff (my personal and school accounts are already bogged down)
- I would join Twitter (had been meaning to try it out anyways)
- I would develop my personal blog to track my progress and allow myself to reflect on my learning.