Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Celebrating Our Faculty's Accomplishments

 A few months ago, our tech department launched a new technology blog-St. Christopher's Tech Central Got Tech?! Now a blog itself is not a new concept but rather than having posts written by the techies, we've been soliciting teachers to share their successes. In addition to those posts, we post information about training opportunities, tech tips, and controversial articles.

As a result, we have teachers from our lower, middle, and upper schools sharing and commenting on the blog posts.  The asynchronous discussions are taking place and our teachers have been expressing their opinions and applauding their colleagues' efforts.  But perhaps the best part about the blog is that it is written by the faculty and causing what I like to call positive peer pressure.

So if you have a few moments, please stop by and write a comment and show our faculty that they have an audience considerably larger than our school community.   

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reflecting on the Google Teacher Academy for Administrators

Having had some time to take in all the information from the GTAdmin, I still find my mind swimming with the  multitude of ideas and possibilities this forum has provided.  I was surrounded by fabulous educators from "venti sized" school districts to small public and private schools and every possible combination in between.  But the most impressive aspect of this group of educators was their passion and desire to enhance the learning process.  An enhancement that is not limited to students but one that is shared with all constituents connected to their respective schools.

That said, the amount of information we received was incredible.  There were practical solutions for mundane problems, creative solutions for assessing student performance, solutions for enhancing communication, solutions for giving student and teachers control over their learning environment and the list goes on and on.   Mark Wagner reminded us that we most likely felt as if we were drinking out of a fire hose but our group handled the volumes of information with grace.

Our collective and individual epiphanies at #gtadmin were emotional, inspiring, and perhaps can only be matched by a child's excitement having arrived at Disney World for the first time.  

Yes, this was a Google sponsored event and yes it focused on Google Apps, but the real take away from the academy is that it wasn't so much about the technology but it was about learning and building relationships.  The lead learners, by the way I love that description for the presenters, were as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, "In [their] Element".  They love what they do, they love what Google Apps provides for their school family, and they are transforming their schools.     

What am I looking forward to?  I am anticipating the ongoing conversations with this group of educators.  To me, it seemed like the dialog was just getting started when it ended.  We need to keep this momentum going.  We will need each other when things get difficult, we need to celebrate our schools' successes, and share our failures.   We need to discuss authentic assessment, differentiated instruction, the college process, and a multitude of other issues as the face of education continues to evolve.

Finally, a word of thanks to Google, WestEd, Cue, and all of the lead learners for sharing.