The ACTEM conference was very special for me this year because, along with Cheryl Oakes, I got to present the John Lunt, Friend of Technology award to our dear friend and educator, Bob Sprankle. What a honor to recognize someone who has been such an amazing educator, learner and collaborator. The award was established by ACTEM in 2006 as a way to recognize individuals that have made a significant contribution to education and technology in Maine. This recognition is so well deserved!
The theme of the conference was "Power Me" and the program looked a colorful comic book. This turned out to be a great frame of reference for our recognition. As we presented, Kern Kelly not only recorded, but also had the robot Ivan there, with a cape on! Kern's students designed the cape hanger. Bob could watch from home via the live stream, and at the end, he was able to drive the robot and see some of the people who came to see the presentation.
Mr. S! His superpower is Student Scholars!
For those of you have yet to meet Bob Sprankle and want the details, all that information can be found at bobsprankle.com or you can google him and in 43 seconds- faster than a speeding bullet 101,000 hits will be displayed.
Bob Sprankle is a pioneer in the world of education technology. Early on, he understood that student voice and technology were a powerful mix for learning. He is passionate about how technology positively impacts students and learning.
Bob always thought the lines between online and face to face conversations are blurred because meaningful conversation can take place miles apart or face to face. Kern Kelly said “My favorite quote from Bob was when Vicki Davis was speaking at the ACTEM conference and he said how driving with her to the conference that morning, at one point he reached over to turn up the volume to hear her better, suddenly realizing she was actually speaking in the back seat! “
The year Bob co-won the ACTEM teacher of the year, he used his award to purchase audio equipment for podcasting. His students were writing newsletters at the time. Bob wondered if he could make an audio version of those newsletters. Bob saw the opportunity that technology could bring to his students to leverage their learning. He says, “The students just saw that this was part of their work. They had already found purpose to everything they were doing. They had listeners and this was part of learning-people engage with you and carry on the conversation.”
Faster than a speeding nanosecond, the scholars of Room 208 sent breaking news over the airwaves and into homes and classrooms around the world. These third and fourth graders went from being consumers to producers in lightspeed fashion. Technology helped Bob amplify their voices from Wells, Maine to a global audience - something that had never been done before. These students went from being consumers of content to producers of multimedia.
Bob’s teaching style supported putting his students in charge of their learning. He believes that students are superheros perfectly capable of creating, editing and producing. He views them as authentic artists and authors whose work is to be valued and shared to a wide audience. For example, the Superhero Scholars blogged poetry and artwork in a safe space created by Bob. He instituted protocols that are still in use in many classrooms around the world today and oh yes, this was all BEFORE GOOGLE.
This was followed by a reading about the Room 208 Reunion by Bob's daughter Zoe. Then Jody, Bob's wife spoke. I'll have the video as soon as it's ready.