Sharing the buzz

A co-worker and I journeyed out of the office today to visit
an event in Highland Park. The room was filled with Media Specialists
and IT Coordinators, many of them being exposed to unitedstreaming for the
first time. After sitting here for no
more than 10 minutes and watching Dick Marchessault (the regional manager for Illinois) show them a
few sample projects, I had to break out the laptop and start typing up a blog
entry.

The energy in the room is incredible. Most professional development events tend to
have a healthy balance of people who are excited and people who are drifting
off to sleep. Everybody in the room here
is wide eyed and visibly excited by what they’re seeing. You can practically see the lightbulbs lit up
above everybody’s heads. After showing
everyone a project about different sorts of fish, you could hear audible
“Ooooohh’s” and “Aaahhh’s”. These aren’t
people who are just going through the motions, they’re having a great time
experimenting with digital media and figuring out all the different ways they
can bring it in to the classrooms in their school.  

We did a few interviews with people and will be editing them
down to create a videocast. I’ll be the
first to admit that I’m not a professional interviewer, but people were jumping
at the chance to share the things they were excited about and how they thought
teachers might start using digital media in the classroom. One of the school’s here doesn’t use a
science textbook at all and it sounds like those teachers are going to be jumping
at the chance to bring science videos into the classroom. People were  thrilled about having short
little clips available that they can show for a few minutes to highlight
something they are teaching. Not to take
away from VHS, DVD and laserdisc, but more often than not they’re designed to
take up a 45-60 minute period. Teachers
don’t always want to devote an entire period to a specific topic, but they do
want to use a multimedia resource to drive home a point.  

I’m sitting in the back of the room and I have a perfect
view to see what the attendees are doing on their laptops while Dick is showing
them about the Image Library in unitedstreaming. As you might expect of any group of teachers
with laptops in front of them, a few people are a little distracted. What’s interesting is that even the
distracted folks are engaged. One person
is continuing to create a Power Point that she was creating during the last
work period. Another is exploring other
areas of the Image Library while a third person is experimenting with each of
the various tools available to teachers. I would expect to see at least a few people on IM or email, but if there
are people doing it, I can’t see them from here.

The Discovery Educator Network is fairly new. It was born barely six months ago and has
been spreading like wildfire. None of
the people in this room have applied to be a part of the Network yet, but even
if they aren’t ‘certified’, they clearly are what we consider “Discovery
Educators”. The people in this room
aren’t the sort that who are just excited to learn something new, they have
learned something and they want to share it. The magic of the DEN goes far beyond seeking out and identifying expert
teachers using digital media in the classroom. It’s about the people who are grabbing hold of the resources that new
technologies are making available and using them to inspire both students and
other teachers as well. If you teach a
teacher something new, you’re also teaching all of his or her current and
future students something new.

Comments

  1. Karen C. Seddon

    I wholeheartedly agree with the last statement- “If you teach a teacher something new, you’re also teaching all of his or her current and future students something new.” As a recently “certified” Discovery Educator Network teacher, I have had the privilege of teaching a couple hundred of teachers to utilize United Streaming in the clasroom. With great content such as United Streaming, it’s not tough to bring the vision of integrating technology to the classroom level and to the students. Go DEN!

  2. Chris Rinker

    I too have had similar “eye opening” experiences with teachers. I just had a “new teacher” session in my building and the reaction was a lot like explained above. The “new teachers” were already discussing the great ideas that they had as soon as the awesome content of UnitedStreaming was shown. The especially LOVE the search by content area and objectives….”Think of the time this will save us…” (comment heard from one of the teachers)

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