Tommy Bearden is still preaching the EASY ACCESS. Easy Access is NOT the tech person bringing you a unit when you need to do a program. It’s having easy access to a unit in your building ALL the time. We have to get there. If you’re just starting, put it in the elementary
If you want to be successful with shared classes, PAY the teacher well. Teaching over VC is a “pain in the posterior” (Tommy’s words), and they need to be compensated properly. Tommy recommended his document onsite for Recommended Fees. You can hire the teacher at the service center, or get the small districts to co-op their position.
Two districts with the BEST units, and they don’t use it and don’t use it. Everyone has districts that aren’t using it.
The best way to get three to five teachers involved, have them do a highly interactive program like Gadget Works, and make sure other teachers see it, and tell about it in the school. Make sure they get the packet out and make sure the students are prepared. After training, look for that one excited person and get them hooked and they are the champion. They are the ones who stay after training and talk to you. They are the people to cultivate. If you have something free, send it to them. Then they start hooking in the other teachers.
Donna Weber, Euclid, OH, talked about Read Around the Planet hooked the teachers on videoconferencing and how they’ve been using it since.
It’s interesting how many teachers hooked on VC are loving VC, even in the face of so many test calls, and want their districts to create a position to support videoconference. The time is a huge issue for these building coordinators.
Regional coordinators shared how they try to make VC as “painless as possible for teachers.” This is a critical goal we all agree on!
Sidenote: I always wonder when we give numbers – we do x VCs a year. What’s the context? compared to how many units? i.e. x events / unit average; or by number of teachers. So we can put it in context to compare.
One technology teacher shared that she has 3 30 min. periods a week to support tech in the building and coordinate videoconferencing.
Bearden-ism for high school classes. Teachers go through five stages of (death & grief): 1st before school starts is excitement. They better be your best teachers. 2nd before school starts, hesistation right before school starts. 3rd is frustration. And this is where you’d better be there to help them. 4th acceptance. Hey this isn’t so bad. Hey I got paid some money to do this. The 5th is excitement again. This isn’t research based. If they don’t get past that frustration stage, they won’t come back next year. They will all go through these stages the first year.
As you move into collaborations – you need to get them some equipment: a digital camera, a camcorder. They do stuff on their community – they go out & capture video & pictures and share it with community. Give the equipment to share that stuff. Make sure they have good microphone – like a bluetooth wireless microphone – to help them put their stories together. Don’t buy your camera from WalMart – get one that you can plug an extra mic into. Give your kids good equipment that you can use to do the collaborative projects.
Tommy shared a story of a state that gave detailed quiz questions on their own state to another state. Those kids couldn’t answer the questions. Think carefully about what will fit well for the other kids in your presentation!
Dual credit hooks the parents. One person didn’t agree and said it doesn’t work in their state. There has to be a state level commitment to it.
Dale Hilton is working on a project with two 3rd grade classes in Ohio on a coin project. They are presenting about the coins they have in their collection and the kids are designing a coin that represents their community. Isn’t that cool!?
Sidenote: We have to remember that content providers are non-profit organizations, and of course we want free stuff; but they need to cover at least SOME of the cost of providing content. None of them are making money on this!!!!
Tommy’s suggestion – see where your kids are doing not so good on the TAKS test – do a project where your kids teach that topic to other kids within the state. They’ll learn it better!
Hey – the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is up and running with VC!
Tommy – distance learning systems installed where no one is using it is an expensive dust collector.
Tommy – You can’t train them on it without giving them something to DO with it.
Tommy told a kid about two teachers pulling teeth to get the high school kids to talk. It was very hard. Then one of the TX kids asked the NY kids, were any of you affected by 9/11? Half the kids raised their hands. Then she said, we were watching that on TV and we were praying for you. NY: What do you mean you were watching us? What is six man football? Tell us about the ocean. What are ships like? All of a sudden the kids were talking like crazy. It had NOTHING to do with ART, but it was good stuff. Let the kids be kids. Let them talk to each other!
Easy access is also them knowing how to run it themselves and do their own connections.
When you’re thinking of where to put it – if you’re doing classes, at the high school. If you’re using it for curriculum activities, put it in the elementary schools as they will use it the most if they have EASY ACCESS.
Interesting idea – media specialist walks around the building and relieves teachers for 5-10 minutes so they can go down and see what’s going on in the videoconference.
What is everyday and mundane to you is so exciting and new to me. It will fit your curriculum and your educational standards and you can teach it to us so our kids can learn about, for example, the Mississippi River, or the kid’s dad cowboy. “I want someone from a city like NY to tell my kids that a subway is not a sandwich.”
Resources mentioned by the group: