Saline Teachers Pilot with ISTE

 02/13/2018 - 13:17
ISTE Logo
The International Society for Technology in Education

 

In the early days of email and discussion lists, I created an online teacher support network. At its most active, we had about 400 subscribers and hundreds of discussions ensued. As interest began to wane, I talked about shutting down the list. That was when I heard from teachers about how valuable the network was in cutting through their professional isolation. One teacher lived in a remote section of North Dakota another lived and taught in the Florida Keys. Without the support of their unseen email-based colleagues, they would have had few people to work through teaching issues.

 

Today, I am a member of several Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) coordinated by ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. With technology in the classroom being quick to change and new products hitting the market all the time, I need the feedback from colleagues to inform what tools I will spend my time and energy with. Every day or so, some colleague from across the country will mention a piece of software they use and love. A click or two later, I am looking at the same thing and evaluating it for use in my own teaching.

 

When I was elected to the Board of Directors of ISTE, I learned about some interesting initiatives to increase membership. One of these initiatives was a pilot program at the District-wide level. I brought it to Scot Graden's attention and he immediately saw the benefit for our teachers.

 

For this pilot, only two districts are involved, Saline Area Schools and Prince William County Schools in Virginia. They will both provide feedback on the impact of providing free membership to ISTE for all certified educators. Saline's teachers will have access to all 20 of the Professional Learning Networks and be able to see, free of charge, conference videos, participate in webinars, get discounts on books, and receive a discount on conference registration. That conference, usually attended by over 20,000 teachers nation-wide, will be held in Chicago this year. I am hoping to see many Saline teachers there at the end of June.

 

This is a great professional development opportunity for Saline Area Schools teachers.

 

Comments

Tran Longmoore's picture

Let us know how this turns out.

I'm a member of 2-3 Facebook groups about journalism and/or local journalism. I sure wish I knew of some old fashioned list-serves dedicated to independent, small town news coverage. The thing I miss most about the newspaper world was the ability to bounce ideas off co-workers, or to celebrate victories and commiserate defeats.

mcveym's picture

That's exactly the point, Tran. I'm having trouble convincing my teacher candidates of the importance of a network. You get what you put into it. 

 

Dell Deaton's picture

When I wrote for AnnArbor.com, they had a physical space where regular, once-in-a-stray-moon, and everything in between who contributed to their online effort could get together anytime from early morning to late night.

This was after the big building that had long housed The Ann Arbor News was sold, and I think it proved a wise decision to maintain a physical presence even as they went mostly virtual.

If memory serves, a lot of the writers back then (about ten years ago) were carryovers from the legacy newspaper. And I'd say there was always a handful of individuals to be found writing there. It also became an attractive hub for folks in no way associated with AnnArbor.com (now mLive.com).

I have to think that there are enough "free lancers," bloggers, social justice warriors àla Facebook, and from surrounding newspapers such as The Sun Times News  that one so moved could create the sort of social group implied here and attract participation.

Tran Longmoore's picture

When I was in Windsor, I belonged to the "Press Club," which had a nice river front location over a dive bar.

It was a great place to debate drunken reporters. And once the college radio station got involved, an even better place to see great live music.

But once Chrysler Canada built its new headquarters, the Press Club kind of lost its mojo in its new location and fizzled out.

I've wondered if such a thing might fly in Washtenaw County. But since I don't drink these days, I probably wouldn't attend myself.

So, the search for a faceless listserve continues.