Well today (actually yesterday - it's late) was the beginning of a new journey for me and the beginning of the last class of the Master's program I am enrolled in. Today's class came at the right time as in just two days back in school I've lost two teachers to extended sick leaves and a new teacher we hired quit on the spot today! I still have to figure out what to do with the class tomorrow, but that's a new day! When I received this news it was like oh my God! What next! We do not have qualified substitutes here and when a teacher disappears it means internal coverage. I'm not sure I can completely comprehend what this means to our school yet, but I digested the information for about an hour as my principal and I discussed the various scenarios that we could employ to at least temporarily keep the kids without teachers meaningfully engaged in school and then I remembered a resume that I got just before Christmas and made a call. The long and the short of it is we are doing an interview tomorrow evening to try and fill a position for the third time this year; yes, it is ugly.
I then scrambled to get home for the first class of EC&I 831; and quickly gobbled down a delicious meal my wife had prepared while I learned the basics of Elluminate (thats why I didn't try the camera today)! Sweet and sour wings are messy! Anyway, the joy of learning new things made me forget the issues in my school and allowed positive energy to return to me far more quickly than anything else could.
I've already tried a few things out tonight (worked on the wiki participant profile, investigated subscribing to the course blog, and re-watched a part of the presentation from this evening) since getting off line and I do not really want to stop except I do need to sleep and I really need to think about the needs of a Grade 8 class. However, before I go that way I need to reflect on a few things regarding my own thoughts about technology.
I love learning through technology; it is engaging and stimulating. I find myself more likely to spend a significant amount of time working on a project when I can include technology. I get excited by learning programs that I can employ to make my work life easier. For example, I found a program online to assist teachers with keeping marks on students that students and parents can access online (Engrade). I also have learned how to work with Adobe Pagemaker to produce newsletters. I am dabbling in Wikis and the possibility of having an electronic staffroom (http://llcsdenestaffroomwiki.wikispaces.com/) for our school. It has not been well received yet but my principal asked me about it today and if he gets interested than I expect the staff will come around!
I have even taken my interest in technology to this master's program as I am investigating what an administrator can do to support online learners in a school.
The school I work in has a significant problem with student attendance and I am ultimately interested in finding ways of incorporating technology with the learning program of the students. So in a way I guess I am a technology crusader who is encouraging staff to look at technology as a fantastic tool for working with students. This is not to say I believe in technology over people though. I believe that the technology requires teachers who build relationships with students while facilitating learning.