As I look back to the beginning of January, I think about how much we have accomplished on our journey with technology during our 5 month Technology Focus Group. I wanted to share basic technology skills that would encourage other teachers to jump on the TECHNO-bandwagon. I seem to get electrified when I get around computers. I guess some of my fellow teachers would just shake their heads with disbelief when I talk about how excited I get with every opportunity to learn something new about computers. I have gained a plithera of knowledge about digital media, the computer's inner workings, and utilizing Internet products, and yet, I know so little.
Our Technology Focus Group used an on-line collaborative document on Google Docs & Spreadsheets to discuss our individual technology needs during our 5 month study group. I lead the tech group with a reasonably, brisk pace through Microsoft Word, Excel, and Power Point. We also experimented with a social bookmarking http://del.icio.us/ tool, and as a final meeting we began posting to this TechnoSeeds blog http://technoseeds.blogspot.com/ to share our reflections from the past 5 months.
In retrospect, the journey was very successful. We had our share of frustrations along the way. I have always felt that the learning process includes a few growing pains. We dealt with Snow Days out of school on some of the days we were scheduled to meet. The Google doc. made it possible to have an on-line conversation even when we could not meet face-to-face. There were scheduling issues from time to time that posed challenges. Additionally, there was "the plan" to use an Internet product that did not quite work the way I had intended to use it. We tested it and found out I needed to go back to the drawing board. Good thing I am an art teacher! We were able to find a resolution that worked even better than I had anticipated.
The participants gained more knowledge and confidence, including realizing the computer wouldn't exploded on contact. We are all at different levels of learning. I found a high level of frustration myself when I committed to an on-line collaborative digital storytelling project. For some strange reason I thought I would learn how to do things "I did not know" through osmosis, or something. It did not happen. I had to do some creative problem solving to complete my task. It was a humbling experience that reminded me that we all learn at individual rates. Some of us need extra time and instructions.
At our final face-to-face meeting we used a microphone and digitally recorded the conversation. This will enable me to approach podcasting with a tiny experience in my tool belt. My involvement with the digital storytelling project prompted me to learn to record on my computer which, in turn, was shared with the tech focus group. I also continued to gain knowledge about being a team leader and sharing technology instruction.
In conclusion, I must say that I am very pleased with our experience and I look forward to the opportunity to lead or participate in another tech focus group if there is a group of Teacher Consultants who are so inclined.