Saturday, March 1, 2014

Career Week + Technology= A Whole Lotta Inspiration!

This week marked our school's Career Week, where students in all grade levels in our elementary were exposed to a wide variety of career choices and knowledge as to how the education they are receiving today leads to such a career.  Walking down the halls, I saw an ATF agent walking into an elementary room in full gear--yes, even carrying the bullet shield--to explain to children what the job entails.  I saw a local firefighter let children try on his gear to get a feel for what that's like.  I heard the owner of a local recycling and metal plant give his suggestions for how to properly recycle and describe what he creates with recycled metal.  I have such pride in the people of our community.  These people all willing to take time out of their hectic schedules to share what they do every day with our young students.

This would have been enough.  Truly.  Our community, while small in population at around 3,000 residents, is bursting at the seams with the economic growth and international businesses that line its streets.  We have some phenomenal things taking place in Northwest Iowa.  Not only that, but many of us who grew up here, return here.  I've been elsewhere, in great districts, big cities, you name it.  Like Dorothy said..."There's no place like home."  But--with technology, our "home" just became a little bigger...

Dr. David Brommer on a GH with our kids
By making use of Google Hangouts and Skype, we can expose our kids to experts. You can access people across the far reaches of the country, or even world.  So, this year, we stepped up Career Week by utilizing our technology.  A computer and a Smartboard are now a window to another place and more information. In a fifth grade classroom, for example, 4-5th grade students were privy to some pretty sweet information from Dr. David Brommer, who is a Professor of Geography at the University of North Alabama.  His storm chasing escapades were enough to drop the jaws of some very interested students.  Students learned directly from one of the best....not in a textbook...not through second-hand retelling...it was the REAL DEAL.

I encourage you to use Skype or Google Hangout to get your classes engaged in real-time learning from experts.  Teachers aren't supposed to be the "sage on the stage" anymore.  Those days are (or should be) obsolete.  We are facilitators.  We teach them to fish.  Fish for information, not just feed them.  They'll learn these skills from you and develop them on their own.  It's inspiring.  Walk down your own main street.  Find your local experts.  Get them into schools to share what they know.  And for the rest....get out the computer....  Use your Six Degrees of Separation to find that you actually have many more resources than you ever dreamed possible. It's time to connect and be inspired!  After all, every career began with a teacher.



Ultimate Dodgeball--Teachers against Teachers while the kids cheered us on! A great way to cap off Career Week 

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