My middle school is so far off the cutting edge of technology we're not even on the knife. We just got computers into all the classrooms -- two per room -- last year. In mid year SmartBoards were installed in all the special ed and 6th grade classrooms, but our principal did not realize they need projectors and cables to make them work. We're promised those by September.

I work with a staff that thinks teaching students to do PowerPoint presentations is integrating technology into their lessons. I had to teach two of my colleagues how to use the school's Outlook email system last year.

Our school is refoming into a collection of small teacher-directed learning communities (its astounding how we can be so forward and so backward simultaneously). I've convinced my community of six teachers (five classes) that we need to push forward, at least into the late 20th century, and really start to use technology in our teaching and learning.

I've got a nice PLN on Twitter and they've taught me a lot, then I went to NECC and learned a lot more. There is so much I want to try (Audacity, Edmodo, Animoto, Skype and more) and get my colleagues to try, but I know I have to start off slowly so as not to scare them off from the start.

So, what should I introduce them to first? I've shown them Wordle and how easy it is. What should I show them next? Please help.

Thank you.

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Now all I have to do is find a working overhead projector. I hope they put new bulbs into the budget for next year.
Thank you for the ideas. It has been so gratifying and reassuring to see so many people eager to help me out. I appreciate all the support very much, and I will be sure to let you know how things progress.
How about introducing "content communities" such as NCTE Ning (National Council of Teachers of English) or NCSS Ning (National Council of Social Studies) or the fairly new NMSA Ning (National Middle School Association)? I would be less interested in your teachers having Facebook accounts than in something like those or like Linked In. The personal connections they can make with other teachers who teach the same course and have the same problems with students will be powerful. In addition, hearing what other teachers are doing with technology in their classes and with their students to teach the same course may provide an "aha!" experience, from their subject area. You can't do this as powerfully if you come at them from the viewpoint of "use this new technology."
NMSA made a huge commitment at their conference last year to get more technology into middle school teaching and learning, and they will continue that this year at their November conference in Indianapolis.
You might have to join a couple of these subject-area Nings to get the gist of what is going on, but I think the power of the teacher-helping-teacher in particular courses or areas of study is far more powerful than many of us realize.
And after all, it's not about "using web 2.0 tools" but about increasing authentic student learning and engagement in rich and important content!
Good luck!
I have been a member of most of the nings you menrion for a few months now and see their value for my colleagues. I am also encouraging them to join Twitter and connect with the very knowledgeable and generous members of my PLN, one or more of them are usually available almost immediately for guidance, advice, or other support.

I realize it is about "increasing authentic student learning and engagement in rich and important content," but that content needs to include knowledge and use of the tools that are in increasingly common use. At one time we taught students Morse code, cursive script and typewriting because they were essential tools at the time. Now we have new essential tools and it is equally important to teach their proper use. Of course, Morse code was useful for half a century and the tools are changing much, much faster, but my students are using only pencils in class. Most habe cell phones and mp3 players but are unaware of how they can be used to learn what specifically interests them as well as what is in the curriculum.
Dr. Oates, Please know that I am not advocating that a Facebook account is the the equivalent of a NCTE (or the like) membership. However, it can be part of one's PLN and if an individual already has this in place it is a great jump off point. One needs to meet the teacher's where they ARE and if this is it then you might as well use it to your advantage.
that's pretty overwhelming for the teachers. you can start with enabling them how to use the tools and make them familiar on how they can use them in their classrooms. im excited with your new adventure (",)

i'll do my best to see how i could help
I am of the pre calculator,computer generation and I understand how important it is to embrace new technology. We have to realize that students are coming to school more knowledgeable in using this new technology. Pencils, paper and pens are great backups when you have a SNAFU. I am gradually integrating the use of IPODS, MP3's,cell phones into my classroom. I tell the students that they are in the cutting edge class and what is being done in my classroom is not to be done in other classrooms unless their teacher gives permission. because I am a special ed case manager, I can use the rationale of assistive technology based on their disability and IEP. A word of caution if you put into an IEP, it must be worded correctly or you could end up obligating your district/school to purchase due to legality of the IEP>
Two of the five classes in the academy are self-contained special ed classes and I am also a special education teacher (though I will be teaching general ed this year). My school, in fact the whole city, also has a blanket ban on the use of ipods, mp3s, cell phones, and just about any other form of portable device you can name. My arguments that this is equivalent to banning the portable typewriter in the 1960s does not get much attention.

We are very careful not to mention any particular technology in our IEPs as none of our students require adaptive technology beyond the use of a cassette recorder to tape lessons for playback later, and I already have a stock of those.



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