I came from South Carolina, from a school district that is half the size of Rhode Island. Sounds big to outsiders, and to the insiders, we felt at least medium with 15 schools. Now that I have been in Florida for awhile I realized I didn’t know what a big school district was!
On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting with Polk County’s Network Team, all 100 plus of them! Polk has over 100 schools! They have to be efficient at training and implementing new projects in a district this size, and from their meeting on Monday, I saw first hand how efficient they were! They were having an update meeting for their network managers, which included notes on unitedstreaming. They shared success stories for implementation, how to use unitedstreaming’s editable clips in various video software and other notes. I also was on their agenda with information about the Discovery Educator Network and all the benefits of being an active member. Virginia Richard, Polk’s Teacher Resource Specialist Trainer and new DEN member, explained that with a district this size their implementation has to be school level. Each school had a chance to send one network manager, one media specialist and one teacher to the initial training and those three people were then sent back to their school to train their faculty. They still have a few schools to go, but you can feel their enthusiasm of having unitedstreaming.
After the meeting, I treated them all to Valentine cookies and talked to interested people about the Discovery Educator Network and FETC. One of their fifth grade teachers is participating in our National Google Earth Project, and when I talked to them about the "Dino" project that we’re doing, I had some more interested people! (Email me if you want to know more about the Dino Project.) I know I cannot have all my members from Polk County , but WOW! I wonder what other schools and districts are doing to implement unitedstreaming and to keep the enthusiasm level up.
Another topic that came up was about the division of North and South. For the most part we used the I-4 as a guide, but I got lucky to have Polk and Pinnealas in my zone. Here is a color coded map of our breakdown. I have the North (blue) counties and Karen Seddon has the South (yellow) counties.
One other lesson I learned, make sure that you write down the directions! I had the directions in my PDA and was using my PDA with a GPS program. Twenty miles away from the site, after being re-routed from an accident on I-4, my PDA decided to die. Not because of power, it just died! And when it died, I got lost, physically and mentally! So, learn your lesson from me, always take written directions in case technology decides to fail! Thankfully my phone still worked and Virginia was able to give me turn by turn directions. Better than a navigational device!