After finishing up our second and last day of ActivBoard training today I was talking with Mark Skoff, our school districtâ€™s Technology Program Coordinator (translation: He gets a teacherâ€™s salary and puts out every edtech fire in a district of 65,000 students). He was explaining about what our plans are for next year. We are rolling out 200+ classrooms that will have ActivBoards, but he went on to mention that we have already purchased video iPods for podcasting and vidcasting classes for teachers next year â€“ more digital photo classes â€“ PDA classes â€“ and the possibility of iPhone classes â€“ they are serious! Realize that when you take any of these classes you get (for free to use with your students) the iPod or camera or PDA OR iPhone!!!
The reason this excites me as much as it does is that not even 2 years ago we blocked almost everything â€“ Flickr, blogs, wikis, Skype are not blocked now and they are even talking about unblocking MySpace and other sites IF teachers take trainings in best practice use with students. Not even 2 years ago the classes offered beside one digital video class per year â€“ a couple digital photo classes and some PDA classes were 3 classes on Word, 3 classes on Powerpoint and 2 classes on Excel â€¦ oh and classes on Groupwise (our e-mail client) and EasyGrade Pro, that was it. Attitude toward edtech was ..â€just be happy doing Powerpoint presentations and Word docs with your students â€¦ and use the net, but not too much.â€ Those of us doing Marsopolis were hassled some about setting up yahoo email accounts in our classrooms so students could communicate with each other between schools â€“ IT was really uncomfortable with that.
So what happened to change minds? (because pretty much the same people are in charge of Ed tech and IT now as were then). Some higher ups have been to some conferences, some of our edtech people finally â€œgot itâ€ how restrictive and narrow minded some of our policies are, and the few of us that were doing things anyhow raised awareness for how powerful web 2.0 is and could be. Like the title says: Pinch Me, I must Be Dreaming! Oh, and so I guess this is more news that keeps me optimistic about finally making some progress towards trying some new ways and new tools. Yea!!!