A Dose of Reality

I’ve just come up for air after an amazing three days facilitating a Digital Storytelling Camp for the Ontario Teacher’s Federation and as a member of the ECOO Subject Association.   I was really excited to have 3 days to work with teachers, a nice change from my usual after school workshop scenarios and looking forward to working with my colleague, Peter Skillen, who is always a gracious and hard-working co-presenter who I am constantly learning from.

It was a rewarding group of just over 30 enthusiastic teachers, most of whom were beginners to technology, and certainly to Digital Storytelling.  This meant a constant stream of either whole group facilitation or one-to-one assistance from Peter and me…thank goodness we worked together…neither of us would have managed it very well all alone! 🙂  Our two twitter friends @dougpete and @kellmoor, who were using the lab the week before us,  also filled us in about what the lab settings would be like, which was very much appreciated.  We met a friend from Twitter, Christina (@ChrisRzazewski )….that is always so cool when that happens unexpectedly.

What a reminder for me though, about what the classroom teacher experiences every day, all year long.  As a technology coach, I’m in a number of schools each week (usually two per day) and I’m well aware that this is not the “real deal” of teaching that class of students every day, all year long.  I was humbled by the patience of these teachers to wait for us to help and to be so flexible when things didn’t work out quite the way we had wanted.

There were things I would have liked to have done better.  It would have been nicer to have more laptops in attendance, so that we could have used Frames 4 instead of MovieMaker which has its own set of challenges.  If we’d known that McMaster would have put software on the labs for us, it would have been nice to have Audacity on every machine so that multiple audio tracks would have been easier to make.   After a projector bulb blew and we relocated, we found that the sound was poor in the new lab and there was no usb access on the presentation computer…glitches that made culminating with sharing their amazing stories a bit of a challenge to say the least.

All in all though, teachers seemed to be happy with what they had learned, and I left feeling humbled and reminded that these amazing teachers  have incredibly busy days meeting the needs of all of the individuals in their classes and all the other things that I don’t include in my teaching day: milk money, bulletin boards, parents, yard duty, field trip forms…you get the idea…all of the extras that take so much time and energy, never mind planning fantastic learning environments and keeping a handle on assessment!

Next week, Social Media Camp in Toronto! 🙂