Last March, I was selected from a pool of 13 to be one of five Semi-Finalists for Maine State Teacher of the Year. For the past five months I have been working on a portfolio and a lesson. It has been a grueling process and really made me reflect on my practice and hw technology fits in to good teaching and learning. It made me very uncomfortable, yet pushed me in many directions.
Yesterday, all five semi-finalists presented their "lesson" to candidates in the Masters Teaching Program at The University of Maine. Each lesson was completely different, but all of them used technology in some way. One of the evaluators told me that this was the first year everyone came with a computer. (an aside: Interestingly, the students did not have computers, an major change for me. I am used to students being dually engaged with the teachers and the computer, not just the teacher. It made me realize how much technology is around me all the time.)
While driving home, I was reminded of David Warlick's post about technology conferences he has attended: "This is one of those very unique conferences, the quality of which I first saw when I keynoted the state ed tech conference (ACTEM) in Maine a number if years ago. It took me months to realize what was different — what that quality was, even though it was really quite obvious. It was a prevailing sense that anything/everything that was being suggested, introduced, taught, or discussed at that conference could be taken back to the schools and implemented." ACTEM has tried to make the focus of the conference be about teaching and learning.
The work we are all doing as workshop leaders, integrators and conference presenters IS filtering down to the classroom. It's being remixed and used for creative projects and assignments. And the results are impressive. It was great to see all the wonderful work being done in our classrooms and that the MLTI and technology is making a difference for our schools.