Coming Together

Today I had a very inspiring meeting with Joel Guy about our School of the Future Digital Storytelling Grant. We had a wonderful meeting about how Joel could help us shape and reach our vision for this grant. As we talked, it became really clear that my preconceived idea about having one person serve as tech support and as a resource for the teachers in learning how to use Web 2.0 tools might work but that it would probably be better to have one person who is really savvy with Open Source, Web 2.0, Teaching and Troubleshooting work in collaboration with someone like Joel who is an expert in getting story ‘out there’. Joel has the background to help us with the project management piece and to help support teachers to make sure the tasks happen.

As we spoke it became clear that we need a TEAM! We need someone with the overall big picture and time frame in mind (me?), someone to inspire the children and teach them the content needed for the projects (the teachers), someone to teach the basics of tech, someone to troubleshoot for students and teachers (Donna?) and someone to serve as a resource in and out of the classroom (Joel?). We came up with this great idea to have Joel and Donna work as a teamand then to have them start out by meeting with each teacher to lay out a time frame for each project so that we have an overall yearly calendar and a clear delineation of who will help with what.
What is the point of this post? The point is that collaborative projects in schools need to be just that. COLLABORATIVE! Old notions of I’m in charge of this and you are in charge of that don’t work anymore. As we blend expertise to forge new roads, we need the experts to work and learn from each other. If we can do it at the macro level as teachers and administrators, we will be better able to model it and organize this for our children. The ideas are going to come together as we all come together!
So my conclusions today were:
  1. This will be a COMING TOGETHER – a collaborative effort that will require a great deal of checking in and front end organization.
  2. The project will morph as we move forward – strong vision and leadership will be required on my part to keep it moving. At the same time, I will have to provide space for the experts to “do their thing” without getting in the way. There is much to learn from others.
  3. We should document the “story” of the grant itself and how we are changing/evolving in our practice. From initial vision to final projects, etc…what are we learning about teaching and learning?
  4. Preconceived notions of silo based project organization should be rethought. For example, I should support the experts in coming together. I could pay Donna for teaching tech out of the specialty budget and pay her for troubleshooting out of the infrastructure budget (should allocate about $2,000 for that). I should pay Joel out of the Tech and Learning coordinator budget and call him a “Digital Media Resource Teacher” instead. He should spend about 10 hours a week mentoring teachers and working in the classroom with teachers & students on the projects. He can also teach a Digital Media class all year long in the elective program. I could also take about $2,000 from professional development to pay for him to teach teachers and work on collaboration meetings – another 75 hours or so throughout the year….since Donna gets Migraines both Paul and Joel can back her up. It would also be great if Donna could do the 3rd and 6th grade math!
Joel helped me learn so much! I was able to flush out some details and think differently and more effectively about how we can get this grant off the ground. I love the intersection of business and education….
Schedule as I see it today!
Trimester 1
  • PSA’s on Ocean Conversation with Chris’ class
  • Grade 5/6 – pick Wiki, brainstorm what to include in project, lay out timeline, start getting footage and having experiences with community members and groups..
  • PKK1 – introduction to how to use voice thread
  • Grade 2 – get EPals set up with Green School Bali
  • Document garden project
Trimester 2
  • Grade 5/6 – build wiki
  • PKK1 – Record Stories on Voice Thread
  • Grade 2 – continue withePals
  • document garden project
Trimester 3
  • Reflections on Wiki Project with Grade 5/6
  • document garden project

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