"What is collaboration? Really. Why bother? I like to do things my way and don't have time to deal with other people."
I suppose this individual does not quite understand the old adage: "Two heads are better than one!" I had my Aha! moment last week while trying to narrow down the topic of my action research project. I thought it was pretty good. Today, I had the opportunity to meet with my mentor and another individual from the Technology team in my district. They listened and gave input, shared, and offered solutions to the "domino effect" questions I had mentioned last week. With their help, I now have a research project that is useful, doable, and exciting. Mark recommended that I focus on my students' performance prior to my using technology in the classroom, then compare it to student performance after having impelmented the use of technology in my classroom. In the interum, I will also work with educators from three other campuses- campus one has some technology accesible to them, campus two is a one-to-one campus, and campus three has very little technology in the classroom until this coming school year, to compare student performance based on the use of technology usage in teaching practices. This will allow for additional data as to the advantages of integrating technology into a foreign language setting.
After having facilitated the Google Earth for Foreign Language Teachers classes, and having spoken with many regarding the advantages of using these types of tools available to us, the teachers present were very excited at the possibilities. I will confess, I was surprised to see how many were so willing to learn how to use this tool. Originally, I formulated my wondering based on the assumption that most of these teachers would be quite resistant to technology implementation in the classroom. I could not have been more incorrect! Google Earth is a resource that can take students to places they could only dream of! They can create PhotoStory projects in the target language or use Google Sketch to create 3-D buildings and place them in the correct coordinates in Google Earth. They can do scavenger hunts and experience culture in ways they could never do with a textbook. Most importantly, they too can post and create on Google Earth. It creates such a buzz with students when they can take part in the real world.
I have always found tremendous value in what could be learned from others. Today, once again, the value of collaborating with others to create the best possible output became evident. For those who have the mindset of the teacher quoted at the beginning of this post, look back on your learning. Those educators in your life that created a positive environment for learning, made it fun, and showed that he/she cared about you, empowered you as a student. Do the same for your students, but be sure to speak their language in the process.
Two heads are better than one- in my case, Three Heads are Better Than One!