Many moons ago when I was a second grade teacher, I was involved in a grant that brought three computer projectors to my elementary school. Our focus was the traditional five paragraph essay and how projecting student work and our own mini-lessons was faster, more efficient and eye-catching to students. The tools, resources and technology have evolved so much in a decade; however, one thing has remained the same: having a clear view to learning opens up your world.
In my current district, stimulus funds allowed us to mount a dozen projectors this school year. Unfortunately, we have more than a dozen classrooms and specialist rooms. Therefore, we had to have a selection process. Over the years, I have seen many pieces of equipment collect dust because it was doled out to a targeted grade level or even building. Either support was not available to foster its integration into the teacher’s classroom curriculum, or there simply was no investment. (I recall many computers appearing in my second grade classroom, and no one ever showed me how to use them. That was a turning point for me. I wanted to learn and went down a new path with a Masters program. This is not the case for everyone.) Therefore, the principal and I decided to have teachers apply for projectors. We were looking for individuals who were going to figure out how to give their students that view on a daily basis.
Today, I met with the projector collaborative group. Installation took longer than the district anticipated, but many have had two months to “play”. Today we supported one another by sharing tips and tricks on screen resolution, brightness and signal loss as well as what unique ways the equipment is seamlessly helping students learn curriculum. I took this opportunity to introduce the teachers to Wallwisher as a way for us to share these fabulous integration ideas (and then in turn use this new tool with their students, hopefully). Please check them out here.
I’m hopeful that our enthusiasm will spread amongst teams and that a new application process will be funded and, most importantly, embraced.
On a side note: At the MassCUE 2010 Conference, Suzy Brooks shared this Wallwisher PDF from Passy World with her participants. Suzy’s presentation was a real inspiration on how to be “Technically Invisible”. This is what we aspire to with our new mounted projectors. Thanks, Suzy!