I talked yesterday about my technology training program and how my initial vision has not been the same as what the program has become. I was also feeling a little discouraged by the lack of interest. I had a breakthrough yesterday. The faculty rep to our Board of Directors came to my training and not only did he love the program I taught, he also told me how happy he was that I was doing these trainings. He also asked my permission to email our principal with accolades for me. Who would ever turn down free PR? I didn't hesitate to give him permission. I have now added a third session of Photo Story for February (due to people, especially one administrator and the headmaster's secretary telling me that they couldn't come yesterday but really want to learn the program).
Earlier in the year I had been chatting with our assistant principal (who is also the administrative liaison to the tech department) and he was happy about the fact that I was doing the trainings but he wanted me to do them more often. I started tossing around thoughts trying to figure out how I can reach more people and do my classes more often. This is the solution I came up with: starting in March I will be instituting Thursdays as Technology Days in the library. The first Thursday of the month will be open lab. Teachers can come to me from 3:15 to 4:30 to ask me any technology related question they have. The other Thursdays will be a training about the same program for all 3 or 4 weeks. I emailed the Faculty about it and I've had no comments yet. We'll see what happens.
By the end of last summer I couldn't wait for September because I was so excited to get my technology training program off the ground. There were so many programs and websites I wanted to share with my colleagues. For every training session I was picturing a room packed to the gills with standing room only. I was looking forward to the faculty meetings when I could do "tech guru" segments to share new websites. Instead I send email blasts. My vision and reality were very different. Well, not totally.
I have had the opportunity to train the foreign language department in podcasting. I possibly will train the science and/or religion departments in Photo Story. I am very excited that people are attending my trainings even if it is only 1 or 2 people. That is about what my average attendance is. To a point, it is a little disheartening but I think about the words of a respected colleague: "Quality not quantity." That is very true. Yes there are only 1 or 2 people in the training but they tell others about what they are learning and sometimes word of mouth is the best form of advertising.
When I started the program in October, I was doing 1 class per month. This month I decided to run the same class 2 weeks in a row. The other thing that I did that was different was that I sent a sample of what could be done with Photo Story. There were people who signed up for the class that didn't put it down on their "pink sheets" as something they were interested in.
I was feeling very down and unsuccessful about the training of my colleagues in technology. Was it worth my tech coordinator's time to set up the screen and projector for 2 people? The answer is absolutely yes. One of the 2 people that I taught Photo Story to is telling everyone who will listen what an awesome program Photo Story is. She even showed her husband (my headmaster). He thought it was a great program and wants me to teach it to his class.
I learned that vision doesn't always equal reality and that's OK.
I wrote this as a comment to Will Richardson's post referring to the MacArthur Study and felt it could stand alone as its own post:
I found the MacArthur study and the New York Times article that referenced it to be very interesting. I put hard copies of both articles in my faculty room and they provided quite a bit of fodder for discussion. I do agree that the NY Times article didn’t go far enough and painted cyberspace as this Utopian place where everyone gets along and sings “Kumbayah.” We know based on the MySpace tragedy that cyberspace can be a dangerous place.
A lot of the teachers that I talked to still have the “creepy treehouse” mentality or someone they know has committed some type of online faux pas. When I entered Cyberspace for the first time in 1997 I’m sure I did too but I learned. I explained that students need to learn appropriate digital citizenship. I explained that they are part of the ISTE standards (hoping that they would ask what they were but that didn’t happen).
Technology is here to stay and is becoming a larger and larger part of our everyday lives. We need to stop treating it like contraband. We as Librarians and educators need to not bury our heads in the sand and teach kids how to act responsibly in Cyberspace. We also need to start Digital Citizenship education as young as possible.
Overhaul teacher education, and policies and procedures for professional development.
Facilitate an exploration of new education methods and pedagogy's that reflect today's children and their information experiences, abundant and connective information environments, and 21st century skills.
If you have been reading my blog since it started, I have talked about how much I learned about Web 2.0 and technology since the class I took this summer. I totally agree that we need to explore new methods and pedagogy's. There is one problem. Are these new methods being taught in teacher education programs? I had 2 student librarians come to observe me and I was talking to them about various web 2.0 applications and important names in the technology field. They had no idea what I was talking about. Granted, when I graduated Library School in 2001 I didn't know most of these things either.
Again, as I have blogged about before, I have started offering my faculty technology based trainings. I am happy to say that I will be teaching my entire foreign language department how to create pod casts. I have only scratched the surface. I am hoping that later this year or next year I can start showing the faculty how to use some of the web 2.0 resources in their curricula.
I did have some student related victories. I taught a 6 week session about Photo Story. I also created Photo Stories to use during Religion. Another member of the department requested CD's of the stories I used so that she can use them in her class.
I feel like I have made some progress but I know I have a ways to go.