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21st Century Pygmalion – The Idea

In January I was given the job of Director of Educational Technology at my private school in Costa Rica after teaching there (and helping teachers integrate technology on a part-time basis) for five and a half years. The Country Day School is a private American school with a population of about 900 students K-12. I was appointed to this newly created position to help the teachers integrate technology, to improve student learning. I have worked in various capacities in educational technology throughout my career, and was very excited to help the teachers to integrate technology in a full-time position.

In May, the high school principal approached me with an idea. He wanted to help his wife, a high school English teacher, to integrate technology into her classes during the next school year. Actually, his idea was much more ambitious than just integrating technology. His idea was that all work could be done digitally, and would include blogs, threaded discussions, and in-class chat rooms to replace traditional hand-written or typed assignments. I told him that I thought it sounded like a very interesting idea, especially since his wife is “technologically challenged.” I thought it would be a very challenging year-long project for the three of us to collaborate on.

We had several meetings between May and the start of school, and decided that the best solution would be to create a social network (using Ning). This network would become the home for the classes involved, and hopefully develop into a learning community where the students continue to learn from each other long after they had left the classroom for the day.

Harry, the high school principal, also suggested that we document this process using video, as this would be a significant change in teaching style for his wife Tibbie. I will be filming the classes and some interviews with Tibbie, and also plan to blog about the progress throughout the year. I am encouraging Tibbie to blog about it also. She’s not up for it just yet, but will hopefully be able to add the blog to an already full plate of change sometime in the future.

No comments yet to 21st Century Pygmalion – The Idea

  • This is exciting! I can’t wait to follow the progress. I will try to steer some teachers who are not sold on the benefits of tech toward this project. This could be very instructive. Obviously I hope things run smoothly for all parties, but the reality is that the pitfalls and frustrations associated with this sort of ambitious project will provide great teachable moments for anyone following your progress.
    Steve, I know you are so positive and forward thinking and I am so glad to be able to watch this seed grow and bear fruit by the end of the year.
    Good luck!

  • Digitalroberto

    Sounds like a very exciting and ambitious project. It will be excellent to see the video docmenting the process, and I do think a blog or tweets from the teacher would be great. Nice reflective process for the teacher which otherwise might not be captured. Are the students going to be doing the video with or for you?

  • Steven

    This is definitely a position worthy of your talent. I admire the ambition of the project. It will certainly be worth the time as it will serve a great example for your teachers, for teacher who follow your work, and a great advertisement for your school. I look forward to following the progress.

    Enjoy your day,

    Kyle

  • Robert,

    I hadn’t really thought about the students making the video. Not a bad idea. I was thinking of doing it myself just to document it. I don’t know if there are really any students willing to take on such a huge project. I’ll have to ask around.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  • Thanks for sending me a link to your new project. Great concept! I love that you created a blog to document the journey. To start, perhaps the teacher could guest blog here just once for the first month, then twice the second month, until she feels ready to add more. As for the video, you could have students pair up to be the team in charge of documenting for the day. It would be interesting to add their perspective.

    I’m inspired by your enthusiasm and look forward to watching the adventure.

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