I truly did not know what to expect going into this meeting. I knew that I would have an ally in Derek Braman an elementary teacher in my district. I also was excited when I got there to see Ron Houtman there. Ron is a great guy who works for our intermediate school district and introduced me to blogs, twitter, RSS, etc.
The purpose of the whole meeting was to fill out a strict outline required by our state in regards to our future plan. The best part is that this could have been treated as an unpleasant task and just completed by IT, instead we had IT personnel, administrators, and teachers all contribute in productive conversations. At Ron’s suggestion we used a Google Doc to write the plan collaboratively in groups. Many had never used GDocs before so it was a good chance for them to see its potential in the classroom.
My worst fear going into the meeting is that I was there as a token teacher representative. The exact opposite was true. I was able to voice all of my ideas, vision, and concerns. Of course, not everyone agreed with me but I truly felt that I was heard!
I feel confident that my district is heading in the right direction even though it is slower than I would like 🙂 There will be another meeting in a month to continue to hash out some of these details. I think real solutions come when IT, teachers, and administrators engage in dialogue with each other.
One thing to add that may win points with your IT staff (I know it would win points with me, anyway)…what is your bandwidth like? We have requests that we can’t handle due to the lack of bandwidth. We have teachers who want to do a lot of great stuff, albeit very bandwidth intensive stuff. With bandwidth in short supply, we have to use it for certain things first, online courses, online tests taking priority.
We talked about bandwidth and the good news is that it is being doubled for next year. Yet another step in the right direction.