Today, four colleagues approached me for advice on blogs and wikis. It seems that my experiment with wikis this year is making waves in the establishment. One of the teachers was the newest member of our staff; the other was among the most senior members. The third person is on our tech staff. And the fourth was the head of our school.
The younger, newer teacher was bubbling over with excitement. She’s taking a course on technology in the classroom, and one of her final projects is to start a blog or a wiki (or both). I’m hoping to convince her that she can in fact do both (but one step at a time!). We have a second appointment tomorrow to discuss what she wants to do, and what kind of platform she wants to use.
The older, more senior teacher was more hesitant but pretty excited. She’d watched over the shoulder of one of my students editing a page, and thought it would be a good tool for her multimedia class. Each student could have a page of their own, with all their multimedia files attached in one place. I demonstrated how to start pages, and how she could track what each student had worked on, and how to read the history of a page. I think what’s really exciting is that this tool is going to grow on her in some awesome new ways, and while she was reluctant to start her wiki project on my wiki (the school currently has each class that wants a wiki placed in a different environment behind one of several log-in screen, rather than in a single environment), I think she got, intuitively, that this is a tool that benefits from mass collaboration.
The tech-gal saw me making Jing videos, and wanted to know why I wasn’t using some other program. When she saw what I was doing, she said, “That makes the program I’m using seem antiquated. Thanks for the tip.” I think we’ll see a massive update of our help-videos pretty soon. What do you think?
Finally, the head of school stopped by to see what I was doing, and what our techie thought was so cool. So I showed him Jing, and he watched a couple of videos, and then helped me make one. (That will be a shock to the kid! The head of school commenting on his homework!?!?) Only, I erred and hit escape instead of save… darn!) When we were done, he turned to me and said, “This could be huge. Huge.” And walked off with a thoughtful tilt to his head.
In some ways, a teacher’s lounge right in the middle of the school, where people are always passing through, is the best place to sit while you’re using new technology. Everyone sees what you’re doing; they see that it’s easy, and powerful, and good-looking, and brings potentially incredible results. And then they step up, and want to learn.