We are making SIC progress!
As part of that progress, last week, we held a Google Hangout.
Although we say it over and over again that “tech is just a tool”, this meeting was centered almost entirely on the tool. I didn’t get to discuss much of our agenda items but… we all met @alica’s lab, @paul’s cat, @doug’s pug, @chris’ corgi and @tom’s 2-year-old. Laksa made her own two-second appearance as well. Members learned about the drawing tools, sharing the screen, the integration of Google Drive and how to put fun effects on each other all while on a Google Hangout. Sharing via the Hangout, which was new to all members, was more about building our relationship as a group than any other objective I had originally in mind.
My objectives should have been:
- solve problems
- build relationships
- have fun
- finish a few minutes early
We accomplished all of the above with a smile on our screen. How often are such objectives clearly stated and/or would be accepted by administration in our classrooms today?
The Hangout was not without hiccups. I had set-up a Today’s Meet room as a back-up plan if we couldn’t get connected. We needed that space along with two cell phones, our Google Plus Community and (sadly) our archaic school Groupwise email system to get us all in the same room at the same time. It took a techno- village.
I continue to be proud of the members of SIC. They are taking risks in their classrooms and starting to feel more confident in participating and in some cases even leading in various face-to-face and online learning environments.
For a few reasons, but mostly my passion in sharing what I have learned in our COETAIL class, I started a Summit Innovative Cohort (SIC) at my school. Our teachers have had very little professional learning around Digital Literacy, building their PLN, Creative Commons, and using technology in innovative and transformative ways. That had to change.
A few teachers and I have been trying to encourage the use of Google Apps for Education for years (as a start) but haven’t had much luck without district support or school leadership helping to model the tools. Teachers in my school work tremendously hard but I feel we are doing them disservice by not equipping them with the tools, skills and possibilities for teaching and learning today. This year, I have more hope and even more energy to help lead the change.
Inspired by Tony Wagner’s, Creating Innovators and seeing Dr. Young Zhao this summer at InnEdco, I decided on innovation for the direction of our cohort. Fortunately, the word sic (think big air) in a ski town goes a long way.
I wanted SIC to be pure awesomeness. Similar to the those restaurants in New York that only serve 20 hamburgers a night. Also, I didn’t want too many teachers to participate so I could provide more personalized support. I didn’t have to worry; only 10 teachers wanted in. I announced the big winners with lots of excitement leaving out the fact that all that applied were able to participate.
I’m impressed with our group so far. I’m no Kim or Jeff but I’m hoping to guide these teachers through a similar process while continuing to learn along with them. We have considerably less time than a normal COETAIL cohort, there is no formal credit attached to their work but I think it’a an important start. Our face-to-face meetings (we’ve had one) is something I cherish. Being part of an entirely online COETAIL cohort has been a challenge for me in building relationships. However, I want SIC members to learn that although we physically have each other, which feels safe, the power and learning will come from them connecting with others around the world.
Our first assignment was to join both our Google Classroom and our SIC Community via Google Plus. Teachers are also experimenting with Twitter and each has started a blog to reflect on their learning. A couple of students are already up and posting. I love how Alicia shares her initial hesitation in social media.