A year or two ago I had the pleasure of teaching/learning with a group of very sharp graduate preservice teachers. Today I find this in my mailbox.
It's XXXXX. In case you can't remember me, I was in your technology class at William and Mary a couple of years ago. But of course you remember me, your help with my thesis was invaluable.
Something happened last week that made me think of you so I decided to get in touch. Our TIS (Technology Integration Specialist) declared me "Geek of the Week" and put my picture in the hallway. Apparently, I can no longer remain the wallflower--my secret is out. And I think I have you to thank for being declared a geek.
First, I guess a little background is needed. I am beginning my third year teaching Kindergarten. I teach half day Kindergarten, so I have two classes and 42 students. We have three SmartBoards at our school, one of which is permanently set up in a classroom. We can sign up to take our students in whenever it is free. I love the SmartBoard. I want one in my room. I was the first to take my class down the hall and thus was declared "Geek of the Week." Of course, this led to much taunting, three requests from colleagues to show them how to use the SmartBoard (I had to hold my own little after-school tutoring session), and many comments that I used the technology because I was young. I keep telling people that it does not matter if you have been teaching 2 years or 20, everyone is capable of using technology in their instruction, but they don't seem to believe me.
I think it was really your class and the way you thought about technology that inspired me. It isn't an add-on, it isn't one more thing they make us do, it is really an integral part of everyday life and should be an integral part of education.
I get to present information in a new way and it holds their attention like nothing else. I was in the lab on Thursday with my afternoon class: 23 students, 15 boys! They are busy to say the least. Just sitting on the carpet in a major hassle. But as we were interacting with the SmartBoard, I turned and realized all 23 students were looking at me, sitting the right way and really just being perfect angels. I wish more people realized the power of technology to teach.
But I guess that is what you are up to. Out there in 9,000 different venues pushing what you believe in. I think it is awesome. I am trying to follow in your footsteps in my own way. Our entire Kindergarten program is based around thematic education and I have tried to show people that a theme is more than what type of clip art is on your math paper. I have established our presence in the SmartBoard room as a regular weekly occurance and I am the first teacher at my school to have a webpage. My principal even approached me about giving a presentation to the staff about my webpage to see if others might be interested.
So, Thanks. Thank you for inspiring me to use technology in my classroom and forcing us to make webpages, so I actually know how.
I hope all is well with you. I Googled you. You seem really busy. But I know that is just the way you like it.
Well at least one student was listening. :) This is what I love about 21st Century Teaching-- if you empower/enable a preservice teacher and model how they should teach within your own higher education instruction-- then when they set up their classroom two things will happen:
1. They will also use 21st Century strategies in their classroom and feel good about it.
2. Even as a novice teacher they will operate in a leadership capacity by default because of the new strategies and concepts they bring with them to the school setting.
My goal is to create a change agent out of every preservice teacher I touch.