The "Thaw” – (No This Post Is NOT About Global Warming)

I was passing through the office at school today and my principal asked if I could help her with a tech issue. The issue … she saw Karl Fisch’s “Did You Know?” at a school district retreat … during a presentation by an administrator from our district – (NO WAY!!!! … from the district where during a meeting 3 years ago we were angrily told to just be happy having students do projects with Word, Powerpoint and Excel … simple web searches … don’t stress the network … why do you need to do anything else?) … but I digress. She wants to show it during staff training on Wednesday and her problem was that she had the Powerpoint version of “Did You Know?” and a separate sound file that she couldn’t get to play nice. I told her there were new updated versions from that one I would download for her … she was thrilled! Oh … and by the way she also wanted me to get her a copy of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk from last year that I had given her a link to a few weeks earlier – she actually took the time to see it! She loved it and wants to show that too!

I have been just as frustrated by the SLOOOOWWWWWWW progress towards changing how schools work and teachers teach and using 21st century tools as the next person … I have also for about 6 months been saying that I am truly optimistic about how I see attitudes changing and some things actually beginning to happen. From responses I’ve gotten I understand that sadly that is not the case everywhere, but I’ve also gotten feedback that I’m not the only teacher out there experiencing “The Thaw.”

So as this new school year begins (or is ongoing depending on where you teach and what schedule you follow), share any “Thaw” experiences you have. Is there a real “Thaw” happening (please oh please) or am I just fortunate to live in Fairyland right now?

Making Progress is messy (as is learning).

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5 Responses to The "Thaw” – (No This Post Is NOT About Global Warming)

  1. It is always those first steps that are the hardest for some people to make. I guess you will have some new people taking those first steps. Keep them walking because after walking comes running :-)

    Great post thanks

    Chris

  2. Jim Gates says:

    I feel your pain. Three years ago I started telling some of our folks about wikis and blogs. They listened politely and went about their business. I then invited Steve Burt in to do a set of two day workshops for me and I invited the districts to send representatives. I ate the cost. But, I couldn’t fill the room. This stuff was just too radical for them.

    NOW they are starting to listen – but many STILL don’t want to have public wikis or blogs. In many districts ALL blogs are still blocked and wikis are ok, but only inside a Moodle class. ::sigh::

    Education moves at glacial speeds!

  3. Kitty Forbus says:

    I, too, am experiencing “the thaw.” In the spring of this past school year as I made my final purchases in the line with my budget, I submitted a requisition for an Elmo Document Camera. My administrator had never heard of one and seemed somewhat resistant that I would make a purchase other than books. After hearing my reasoning for its purchase, she consented and allowed me to purchase the Elmo. Over the summer she ordered an Elmo and a projector for every classroom teacher. I guess I succeeded in convincing her of their use! In addition, since the beginning of school I have successfully encouraged two classroom teachers to begin a blog for their students. It’s great to see technology being applied!

  4. Donna Murray says:

    I am an elementary instructional technology specialist in NC.

    This summer, our team of instructional technology specialists put on our first annual Summer Technology Conference for the teachers in our county. It was a HUGE success!! (And I’m not just saying that- we have evaluation forms to prove it!! *grin*)

    The topics included blogs, wikis, google reader, picasa, interactive websites, iPod/iTunes, photostory, and many more (almost all of which were “web 2.0ish”). While we have already started a list of some things to change for next year, it was so wonderful to see and hear teachers getting excited about the possibilties (especially those who really need to be “thawed”!!)

    Here’s the link to our wiki:
    http://stc07.pbwiki.com/

    Also, each year we are given half an hour to present at our New Teacher Orientation week. Basically, we get them logged into email and show them around and that’s all there is time for. This year, our director convinced admin to give us TWO HOURS in addition to the half hour for email. We broke up into elem/middle/high and as part of our presentation, we all showed the newest version of Did You Know (2.0). At the elem session that I presented in, we were asked to come and present at EVERY school sometime this fall.

    It may be small steps, but things are a changing!!

    We are so excited to see some thawing going on!!!
    Donna Murray

  5. Katie says:

    Hi Brian,

    I’m a new visiter to your blog, and I have been reading it now for the past couple of hours. It’s good stuff! I’m in my senior year at the University of Oklahoma, about to finish my elem ed degree, and was really happy to read this blog about making new progress. Just getting started in this career, I worry that sometimes not getting to do the cool stuff that we learn about in our ed classes every day, so it’s refreshing to hear that some schools are actually coming around and doing them too. Just know that they’re actually teaching us this stuff, change is happening slowly but surely!

    Katie Cook

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