Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teach21 - Year One

The title says it all. Year one implies there is a future for Teach21 and there will be. Teach21 will be implemented with a new group of educators next year, and this trailblazing group, who met today for three hours to learn for the last official time this year, will continue to grow and learn and pass it on. That alone tells me that Teach21 has been a great success. If you go back to the origins of this blog you will see the milestones along the way. There have been pitfalls and glitches, but they've not been excuses for not moving forward.
Here's what I've seen in less than a year. Teachers who were anxious and reserved about using technology are no longer treating anything we show them tenuously. They have gained a comfort level never before reached. Others have seen the value of connections with other students and teachers within and beyond the walls of Bolton School. More to come THIS SCHOOL YEAR with that. Teachers who loved using technology continued to do so, but learned even more looked at it through a different lens, with new tools and products, and shared their expertise with others. That has even spilled over to our personal lives as we've celebrated several new additions to the families to those on our team. In the media center students at every grade level have been trained to check out their own books. That's a huge step that allows our media coordinator to be more free to be engaged in helping students navigate our resources. That part of our school is still being upgraded with hardware, but the mounted projector and screen has allowed a new level of instruction. In science lessons have come alive with video and interactivity to the whole world.
Teach21 has changed my teaching significantly as well. In the lab I have tried to teach our students how they can use technology to show what they know. It has made me more of a facilitator, forced me to become more connected within my own school and worldwide. That's exciting! I've been in contact with technology educators who are asking the right questions and have a head start on the things I want to learn how to do and bring to Bolton School. The impact on students has been significant. I don't know what it's statistical impact will be with regard to NC's End Of Grade Test scores, but I know there's an anecdotal record that shows a big impact on students and their ability to connect, create, and be lifelong learners.
I will never forget what one fifth grader who has been at Bolton since kindergarten told me about being a class with a teacher who has been part of Teach21. She said this year has been her best ever. Digging deeper into what she means I found that the Smartboard was a part, but it was more of what they did, and how they approached learning than it was having a glowing interactive whiteboard in the room. The success within our group of educators will be evidenced through their reflections on their own blogs, so check those via our blog links. Please comment and let us know what is working where you are. This is an ongoing process. It always will be, and that makes being in education at this moment in time a rich and exciting experience.


  1. I really think that teachers are having a big impact on students and their ability to connect, create, and be lifelong learners by incorporating technology in their instruction and not making it just something else to do.

  2. You've got a great thing going here Sam. The teachers should be proud of all they have accomplished! Celebrate every step (no matter how big)!

  3. I hope we can follow in these footsteps as we move into our new building. Your success is exciting! Congratulations to all of your staff for taking this big step and "risking the comfort zone."