Access and Support

So I haven’t blogged since mid-September, which is much less than I want, but as it is, I’ve been busy. Which is good! I’ve been working with faculty here at UNI and teachers in our partner schools to use technology in their courses. I thought I’d share a major theme that has emerged over the last month: it’s all about access and support.

Not surprisingly if you give educators the tools and time to learn how to use them, they’re going to create some amazing things for their students to be engaged with during their courses. However, this often isn’t the case in many schools. For any number of reasons the access just isn’t there. However, with the grant, I’ve been able to help provide access to a number of educators. This access has taken many different forms, from equipment to software to my time and to the time of those around them. This certainly shouldn’t be anything new, but I sometimes think we forget that if we simply provide the time for teachers to work together toward a common goal, they can accomplish amazing things. Like we should ever doubt them. They teach our kids. They should be some of the most trusted people we know.

But providing access to technology and the right people has only been part of the theme. The other part is support. This support has expressed itself in many ways, such as: administrative support before, during, and after professional development, technical support, curricular support, and sometimes, moral support. There have been ups and downs over the last month, but we’ve always held strong and kept moving forward. We haven’t let problems derail us in our pursuit of our goals. Often the best solution is asking teachers what support to be successful and then following through. It doesn’t always mean being immediate, but it does mean following through.

This has been a little big picture, but as I look at my experiences over the last month, there are too many to describe here. The pace is likely to keep up until November and then I’ll take some time to debrief more specifically. Until then, here are some helpful tips to help guide your work.

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TQP Technology Support Group

TQP Technology Support Group

Today was the inaugural TQP Technology Support Group meetings.  The purpose of these meetings is to get TQP faculty together to learn about the technology we are using in the grant.  It gives everyone time to step away from the hustle and bustle of the regular work day to take some time to first learn one new technology and then how to use that technology in a meaningful way in the classroom.

If you’ve been following UNI TQP you might know that the faculty are using iPads with their courses as well as once they go into the field for the clinical experience.  However, there is so much any one person could learn about the iPad that it’s often difficult to plan training during our monthly faculty meetings.  So instead we took a different approach and decided to find a time when the faculty that were interested could come together and learn how to use some of the technology.  This would be separate from everything else we do with TQP, but still connected to the underlying objectives we hope to achieve.

While the majority of the sessions will focus on the iPad, soon they will expand to other technologies, such as BlackBoard, video cameras, and video conferencing.  Today we talked about the camera app on the iPad.  You can catch a synopsis of the session over at the iPad Blog.

Note: This post is cross posted at TQP