This is a great example of how amazing students can be when they are allowed to be part of the learning process. Whether she was aware of it, or just trying to save herself some time (why teach a lesson to an empty class for the sake of screen-casting) she had empowered her students. The kids became part of the lesson! They knew that the lesson would be available to help them and other students learn. She did the single best thing a teacher could do, she gave up control to the students. I was very happy to hear her success. I know, as well as many of you reading this, that when we have a positive first experience with something, we are much more likely to do it again.
There are several teachers in my building that have begun a renaissance in their teaching careers because of technology. The above mentioned Language Arts teachers is a great example, but there are others too! The Language Arts teacher on my Team just started using blogging with her students. She has started a Weebly website and is embedding documents, blogging and sharing information like never before.
The math teacher next door to me took a great technology PD course last spring (not taught by me) and spent the rest of last school year asking tough (reflective) questions of himself and his course. This year he is creating flipped lessons, experimenting with ways to reduce lecture and increase learning and even trying to have "paperless-weeks" in his math classes.
Our 6th grade science teachers have created nearly an entire year's worth of lessons via their Weebly sites. There are built in videos, PowerPoints, quizzes via GoogleDocs, websites and other resources.
Last spring one of our 7th grade science teachers had his students collaborate on a Wikispaces project concerning animal adaptions. he made it possible for his students to become published thinkers, able to share and collaborate between classes and with the world.
The new 7th grade social studies teacher (she teaches the same thing I do) is a techie and has brought her passion of technology to the classroom. Not only is she having kids "Tweet" and blog, but she is starting to collaborate with Garth and I. This means another 120 students will be connected to the work of Garth's students and my students. She even downloaded the weebly app so she could look at her students work on her phone...grading, there's an app for that!
Our Physical Education teachers have been working hard to create an amazing website and digital tools to keep up with the new state standards and our internal attendance system. They are using their iPhones, iPads and laptops to bring technology into the gym. They have created a series of movies starring the students participating in different P.E. activities, then those films are used to help students study and take exams concerning those activities. It is all very, very impressive work that does not get enough credit!!!
It has been a very pleasant change for me professionally. I was starting to get used to the idea that the philosophy and passion Garth and I share on this webpage may never change my own district, let alone my own building. I know change happens slowly and I am a pretty patient person, but it was starting to really bring me down. It is very inspiring for me to see so many passionate teachers embracing technology to empower their students to become autonomous learners. My goal is to feature each one of these amazing teachers in their own blog postings over the next few weeks, so please check back for some inspiration.