Great Things Are Happening Out There

So, yesterday's last post may have sounded a little negative. Sorry. Sort of.

It's just that this battle to improve teacher performance often falls on deaf ears.

Needless to say, in spite of the many teachers that refuse to incorporate technology into their teaching, there are many really good things happening out there. I will share two.

Good Thing #1 - Sheradee Bradfield - Midvale Middle School

Ms. Bradfield is doing tremendous things with her social studies classes. She learned about geocaching a few months ago and decided to use it with her students. She created a cache near her school (about a mile away from her school - it's safer that way). In the cache, she put a total of three travel bugs - one for each class. Each travel bug has its own "goal", all decided by her students. Remarkably, one of the class travel bugs has traveled nearly 19,000 miles since its departure last November (it's currently in Germany, at this location: N 49° 08.692 E 007° 59.471).


Imagine the discussions Ms. Bradfield can now have with her students about geography and culture because their class travel bug is currently circling the globe! Without this technology, such conversations would never take place - or would be forced, at best. The picture below is of one of her class travel bugs in Italy - perfect for her social studies unit about the Roman empire.

Good Thing #2 - The Horizon Project

This morning I received an email from Julie Lindsay inviting me (and other Horizon Project members) to join her in Elluminate. Unfortunately, I was about 20 minutes too late to join the party, but I was able to talk with Barbara Stefanics, one of the Horizon teachers that also joined late. Ms. Stefanics teaches eleventh-grade students at the Vienna International School (in Austria).

I have to say that I was extremely impressed with both Ms. Stefanics and Elluminate. Ms. Stefanics seemed very confident and gave me a great tour. The Elluminate interface is very clean. It allows you to literally hold class with participants around the world (white-board and all). Without this technology, participant interaction (and probably instruction) would not be as effective.

One of my favorite features in Elluminate is the audio: only one person can talk at a time. To talk to the class, simply click the button - allowing your microphone to be heard, displaying your name, and disallowing anybody else from interrupting. We need one of these microphones in traditional, face-to-face classrooms!

So, for all of you teachers that are doing great things out there, keep up the good work! If you don't slack, I won't gripe. : )

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