Changing Teaching with a Little Help from My Friends

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October 15, 2017 by Dr. Robbie Barber

pumpkinmuffin-shortcutsEvery Tuesday, I set up a space in my office for teachers to come and collect a 2-3 page printout on using a specific educational technology. IF they come on Tuesdays, they also get a sweet treat. (Trust me – the treats alone are worth the visit.) And, of course, I never just give them a handout, but point out things of interest in the handout, hold a conversation and try to insert myself as a partner in the process. We’ve looked at a variety of things including MS Word & Excel shortcuts, Excel Basics, and MS Form Self-Grading Quizzes. It’s slow and tedious but teacher belief systems do not change overnight. They change with exposure, practice, encouragement and support systems.

As a teacher-librarian, I need to do the annual presentation on copyright for the teachers. I have several versions and try to focus on different things. Last year, I focused on copyright-free photos. But this year I dragged and dragged on doing this. But, though I may be the only teacher-librarian in my school, I am not alone.

thscopyrightswayThis year, the amazing Adrien Stallings was kind enough to share her Sway. As I told my teachers, it has four slides: Introduction/Title, YouTube video on copyright (7.5 minutes long), our standard copyright handout, and a MS Form that asks only if you saw the video, read the handout and submit. Because the school district is a Microsoft district, the teachers’ employee number and name are automatically recorded when they hit submit.

Let’s review:  In 10 min., I exposed teachers to a new way of teaching using educational technology. I exposed them to Sway (most had never heard of it). I showed them the MS Form in action, just as I had taught three weeks earlier. And, some of the teachers asked for help from either me or other teachers.  Did we make a difference? Yes, with a little help from my friends.


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