Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tech Summit Amazes Teachers and Students

Over the last two days, I held a tech summit at my school which I felt was one of the best things I've ever had the opportunity to do. It took about a month of planning and was what I liked to call a technology art gallery.  We had displays of student work out for students and teachers to view.  

I've had the idea in my mind to do something like this for a couple of years now but just haven't had the opportunity to pull it off.  This year I mentioned it to a student and when I saw that bit of excitement in his face, it was all I needed to get to work.  He helped come up with the name and get other students excited about submitting works to be on display.   I planned the dates, got teachers to submit works that their students had done and named the featured teachers for the summit.  

We had originally intended to have lots of outside speakers come in to talk about careers in technology.  It was hard to get people willing to come in for even a short amount of time, but we did have John Lemmon from John Lemmon Films join us which was a huge hit.  He stayed almost all day on the first day and geared his talks to the class that was listening at the time.  For the marketing class for example, he showed animated commercials he had made for Dairy Queen and Bojangles then with each class, 15 minutes was dedicated to the students actually using the two READYAnimators on display.  This was probably the best thing that happened through the duration of the summit.  The students were so excited to use this equipment and the teachers were amazed and excited about how quickly the students picked it up and started creating projects.  We've had a READYAnimator for a year now and I've personally had a hard time getting teachers to want to use it.  I think we'll see an increase in its use after this.  

In total, we had 30 or more works submitted from movies to print based materials and we had 20-30 classes come through the media center to view the works.  The students with works on display were so excited to share what they had and the teachers were amazed to see the projects students had created in other classes.  My favorite moment of the day was when one student who sings in his own band came in and while talking to me noticed that someone was listening to his song.  He looked at me with wide eyes and said "People are listening to my song????"  I was so happy to tell him that not only were they listening to it but they loved it and it was actually stuck in my head for two days because I heard it so many times.  It was great to see how excited he was about it.  

In addition to  the works being displayed in the media center, I also asked all of the teachers to put an "orange nerd" on their doors with a techie recommendation.  I printed a picture of a nerd on orange paper (orange is our main school color)  and left a big blank for them to write in something they use in technology so students and teachers could see what they recommend.  So, we had orange nerds on all the classroom doors and lots of recommendations for teachers to try.  

The other thing I did for the teachers during the summit was to recognize all of those that had worked a lot with technology and might have a lot to share.  We picked 11 teachers to showcase, interviewed them, took their pictures and put their information on the website.  All 11 teachers were also asked to submit at least one work.  My intent in all of this was not only to let other teachers know who the technology leaders in the school are, but also to let the others see the projects that these leaders are doing.   I find that some of the best teachers in the school don't ever get a chance to share what they do that makes them great.  This was an opportunity for them to do that.  

At the end of day one, I had tired legs and another full day ahead of me but I had such an amazing feeling my heart.  I told several people that it was the best day of my career as a technology facilitator and I stand by that.  The excitement about technology in the students and the teachers was astounding and it made me feel like we really are doing something good for these kids.  I know there is a lot of debate about how much technology should be integrated and if it really helps student learning.  If I could have bottled up the energy in that library and shared it with any doubters, there would be no question what we need to do. 

1 comment:

  1. I know all your hard work paid off with this fantastic event! It is true that teachers don't have the opportunity to share the great creations they make for teaching and the products their students make to show eveidence of learning. Your Tech Summit was a great forum for that! I hope this is something you can replicate year after year (without it running you down) :)

    People don't often realize that it's not about the technology, but what we do with these tools. The highest level of learning according to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy is creation, and that is exactly what we do with web 2.0 tools - the technology we use in school and that professionals use in their jobs every day. So the investment in learning how to use technology is one we can't afford not to make.

    It was good to see teacher and student learning the focus of what was featured at the Tech Summit. Congratulations to you and your school's leadership in supporting an event like this.