Friday, May 21, 2010

A Good Day

Every once in a while you have a really good day because you know the work you are doing is making a difference. Last year when I was teaching, I'd have a student come in once every couple of weeks to tell me that or have a class go so well that I felt wonderful. In this PD role, that happens less often.

A big push of my work this year has been to support SITLs and TLs is working with teachers on how and why to use technology in their classrooms. Part way through the year, I started getting unsolicited feedback. Two of my SITLs started sending me links to share out with the division. I watched the hits on various web applications I was teaching climb, and I saw our libraries develop virtual presence. The most significant thing was the number of teachers who were trying digital storytelling, mindmapping and more effective research methods with students, thanks to the support of the SITLs and TLs. I also got invited to work with large groups of teachers, like English teachers.  Each of theses things was part of evidence that the learning I was working on was making a difference in Collegiates - my big reason for wanting to do it. However, the really exciting thing was an email I got this morning:
I just found out (from what I understand about my teaching assignment next year) that I'll have every other morning in semester 1 free of classes. This means I can spend a morning working with teachers in either school. I'm looking forward to this great opportunity to transform classroom practice. I shall be going over the book club selection you chose this summer.
I hope that we can send someone else to IT Summit next year. It was really exhausting after two days of that conference - I was wondering how I could even get started. Get started I did. I started my personal blog on May 3rd and opened up Delicious and Evernote accounts. I've been using Twitter more now and I use all of these tools in my classes this semester (except for Comp Sci). I now realise what power these tools bring and how they relate to AFL. Blogs and wikis are an ideal way to allow students to practise continuous improvement. The power of sharing things in a social network might be a way to build community (not limited to just the classroom). It occurred to me that I could RSS feed my Delicious bookmarks in a virtual classroom like this on the bottom of my AFL Science portal. Instead of cutting out newspaper articles, this is an easy way to create a bulletin board of current events in science or history. I'm just wondering about how to segregate the feeds now.
This year was the most useful for PD in technology I've ever had. I now understand more of your question to me last year about the "why" rather than the "how". Thank you for all your great work this year.

Thanks Leslie, for that uplifting email. I am so delighted to see all the great things you are thinking about as you connected them to your life in your blog. And as you start to work with teachers in a support role in mornings next year, I think you'll get the pleasure of seeing other teachers learn as you learned this year.

Sometimes as a facilitator of teacher learning, it is easy to feel like you don't have much to offer. Leslie knows was more about programing, networks, and computer repair than I do - how could I possibly offer him something in the area of technology? The answer lies in the fact that great people are always growing, sharing ideas, and looking for possibilities to make a difference for others. So I can make a difference with Leslie this year, and he'll make a difference for others next. Every bit of feedback, especially the feedback designed to help me grow, is useful in getting closer to making that difference.


  1. Wendy,

    this e-mail could have been written by me. I find it encouraging that others are struggling to make it into the 21st century, as I am, trying to define what that means. Discussion on blogs help a lot to develop the community of learners and to make me feel that I'm not alone in my struggles.
    ps. went on-line today to get google or you tube video on microorganisms: both are blocked by our school division! Very upsetting.

  2. I hear you, Tim. We need to get it addressed.