Kinkaid School’s Director of Technology Larry Kahn has become something of a cheerleader for PLP. In his second year in the Ohio consortium, he has not only helped the “rockin’ and rollin” to happen at his school, he also helped Parish Episcopal School join the PLP team, too.
After serving on that school’s accreditation team, he recommended they put a full time technology director in place. Dolores Gende became that person, and shortly after, her school also joined the Powerful Learning Practice.
Larry’s so enjoyed his first year as Fellow, he stayed in touch with the next first year team to follow their progress. The end of year project was one that excited them all.
“They decided to come up with one thingâ€”one simple thingâ€”but to do a really good job with promoting it,” he said.
That one idea was to use Skype to connect with another school in another part of the world on Earth Day. Instead of one class participating, it became a school-wide initiative. And Skype became the ticket to success (see graphic below that shows where teachers Skyped on Earth Day). Unlike blogs or wikis, he said, the video call seemed to be easy to set up and use, a tool many saw value in.
“I was even more excited about the follow-up,” he said. A few weeks later, a teacher who was using Oregon Trail managed to get Gloria Rasmussen, the Education and Public Programs Manager from the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, Oregon to connect via Skype with them. Parents were invited to the theater to watch their children participate.
“They were able to interact, ask great questions,” he said.
His involvement with PLP has made it easy to get other teachers involved in their own professional development, too. One teacher “who hung around the PLP team,” expressed an interest in doing more. Now she’s doing great things in her class, he said.
PLP, he said, gave him a chance to grow at the grass roots level but was sustainable to develop in-house tech training conducted solely by teachers at his school
“PLP enabled me to grow the farm, grow the crop of teachers who get it,” he said.
And Dolores? She’s off and running, too.
“Our 21st century team looked at it all, and selected NETS to focus on. And then, when we learned about TPACK, we went ballistic because that shows true integration of content and pedagogy,” she said.
Dolores is already working on developing another team in the Dallas area, so be sure to give her a tweet if you are interested (@dgende).
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