June 15, 2019 by Dr. Robbie Barber
I have a poster session at #ISTE19 in the #ETCoaches Playground on Tissue Tabloid – Bathroom Communications (Tuesday 6/25 @ 9:30 a.m.). This year, I started the Tiger’s Tissue Tabloid with a Math teacher to try and provide teachers the support they need in using small pieces of educational technology. The format alone prevents us from tackling a large, complex issue. But it can work on one small aspect of that issue. The big advantage of presenting at a conference is the opportunity to reflect on what we did right, what we did wrong, and what we can improve.
Presenting at the conference meant I needed some way to share this journey. The obvious (to her, not me) solution from my math teacher was to create a notebook and put every one of the Tissue Tabloid’s in it for the year. This turned out to be nothing short of incredible. From the first attempt (Smore) to the next attempt (Publisher) to the next attempt (PowerPoint) to the ending bell on the last day of school, this shows the movements and changes of a year.
So, two big things happened during the year. The first was that I got pranked by a teacher. He runs the school announcements PowerPoint on the inside the building monitors. And I walked in one morning in August to find the bookkeeper and principal’s secretary howling with laughter. Sigh.
I can’t tell you how many people ran into the library waving their dollar for a “free” coffee. Students and adults came, which made my pranking teacher laugh even harder. I decided that my newly installed Tiger’s Tissue Tabloid would respond in kind. I can’t tell you how long we went back and forth but the epiphany was when the bookkeeper mentioned in passing that she looked forward to the joke every Monday. The coffee jokes became the staple of the year and even teachers who did not drink it, enjoyed the “inside” joke.
The second big thing that happened was in January, a new professor at a nearby college, wanted to help teachers with literacy. She joined me in the Media Center on Tuesdays with the idea that teachers came to see me for #TicklingTech and they could see her too. It worked! Teachers did come in for their mini-lesson but often stayed to talk to the professor about ways to incorporate literacy. I had already transformed (multiple times) the Tissue Tabloid from three technology hints to one. We decided to scrunch up the tech hint and provide space for the literacy lesson. Only you can decide if it works. And, yes, we’ll do another round this coming school year, with a new joke and a hope to engage with teachers – in any way that works.