Thursday, October 13, 2011

It was a beautiful thing!

     Every once in a while, a plan comes together, including the technology piece, and it becomes a beautiful thing. Sorry, I am not talking about the new look of this year's Philadelphia Flyers, but a great activity that I participated in at North Penn Sr High School this week. As expected, a few glitches prior to implementation, but this was so refreshing to see the tech pieces fall into place and work flawlessly, and have students be engaged with a true 21st century activity...It was a beautiful thing.
     Here is the scenario....juniors at the high school that did not participate in taking the PSAT test, needed something to participate in while the rest of their classmates took the exam. As a result, I received an invite to participate in the planning of a tech integrated-cyberbullying activity. (My guess is that it was purely coincidental that my wife is the bullying expert in the district.)  The challenge was made to somehow have students be fully engaged in a video and then have the opportunity to respond immediately with their thoughts and feelings about this extremely important topic.
     Long story short, we created a google docs form to accompany a PowerPoint with embedded videos. Of course there were some last minute glitches with the links, but all was ready to go. It was a beautiful thing.  As the students logged on and answered some pre-video questions on cyberbullying, we watched in real time as over 80 students responded to why people are cyberbullied, how they perceive themselves, and others online, and what they can do to today to help stop negative online behavior. Once all students had finished watching the compelling and moving video, and completed the form, a quick PowerPoint was created and then broadcast live on NPTV to all those involved. Dr. Nicole Yetter hosted the event and eloquently discussed the results and some pertinent information that the students had shared in the google docs form. 
     It was quite powerful for the students to see their opinions being shared on TV, moments after it was placed into a form via the Internet.  Ownership?  Yes.  Validation?  Yes,   Life Changing?  Maybe.  One of the questions reported that nearly 1 in 4 have experienced some type of cyberbullying scenario.  As long as it had an impact on one student to either take a stand, feel better about themselves, or change his/her attitude about how they are perceived, then it was so worth it!
It was a beautiful thing.
     When we come together as educators and really stop to think what is best for kids and begin to let go of some of the control that we feel we MUST have, awesome things can happen.  21st century learning and activities aren't that difficult.  We, as educators, know what great instruction looks like.  We have all had the 'goose bump momemts' when things go flawlessly and our goal has been met, and then some.  The tools are all around us, and it is up to us to learn them, embrace them, and use them in an atmosphere that can keep students engaged and begging for more.  This activity was just that.  We gave the students an opportunity to express themselves in a medium that they are comfortable with and use on a daily basis. We met their needs and gained some excellent data.
    As an Academic Integration Coach, I feel it is my responsibility to make this happen with every teacher in the district.  Bring on the goose bumps...It's a beautiful thing.

Thanks for reading.  Let me know about your beautiful moments in education....

1 comment:

  1. Excellent work Glenn! I like your point at the end about the activities not being that difficult. Such an important topic in today's world also! Maybe a model to replicate at each level?