Mcrel Training

I’m writing this from 30,000 feet over the snow-dusted white peaks and red-brown valleys of the Great Basin Desert of Nevada on my way to Phoenix and then to Houston for the Promethean ActivBoard Conference there Tuesday and Wednesday.

I’ve blogged recently about how I am optimistic that attitudes are changing positively about how “school” is done and the role of technology and problem-based learning in education. Friday my school was visited by Elizabeth Hubbell from Mcrel, in-the-flesh, as opposed to online via Marratech and a web cam. Elizabeth presented to our “Focus Group” of 12 teachers that have ActivBoards installed in their classrooms, for a morning session, and then our entire staff for the afternoon. Her focus was on sharing how Marzano’s research supports using technology in schools and some resources to support doing that.

I’ve mentioned in the past how most teachers at my school (and district) have been lukewarm at best about technology. Most struggle with basic email skills such as attachments or downloading a digital camera. When they have been in-serviced about using tech it has often been done by me or the one other teacher on our staff that is skilled at integrating technology – so after awhile the message becomes too “inbred” and loses its punch. So having an “outsider” here with a new story to tell supported by Marzano’s research was a breath of fresh air.

One of the breakthroughs for many was that we could put a wireless laptop into their hands so that as Elizabeth shared sites and activities, teachers experienced them and discussed them immediately. Knowing who the “reluctant adopters” were in the audience gave me further optimism as I observed them make connections with what Elizabeth was showing them and their own perspectives on how this might impact their classrooms and the realization that we have two sets now of wireless laptops that can move around the school – RIGHT NOW – so they could actually do these things with their students next week.

We’ll see how it goes.

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