Saturday, May 12, 2007

Some Reflections on TIMAC

We just finished up the third year of the OTAN Technology Integration Mentor Academy. It was a great two days, with presentation by cohort 3 on Thursday, and cohort 2, the second year people who are finished now, on Friday. It worked out really well having 7 minute presentations, much easier to sit through 15 in a row, and the information was more succinct too.

So much has come out of this experience. It really feels like we are beginning to have some effect on the field. There are more and more tech presentations at conferences like CCAE, and many of them are by TIMAC participants or mentors. They are also networking with each other more, and even beginning to do workshops at each others' sites.

Leila Rosemberg said one of the outcomes of TIMAC for her was being showered with admiration and appreciation. It made me laugh, but it's so important, too. The teachers who have come to TIMAC have experienced a lot of benefits that come from being seen as a leader. They didn't start out thinking of themselves that way, but through technology mentoring they have affected their programs and their administrators notice.

Another observation someone made is that "there is an alarming acceleration in the number of things I know nothing about." I loved that line too, and I can relate!

Overall, there were some wonderful applications of technology, such as podcasting and creating of student orientation videos and powerpoints. It seemed that there were quite a lot of powerpoint projects, which was a little frustrating. But I always need to be reminded of where our teachers are, overall. They are not tech-friendly, for the most part, and sometimes very resistant. So powerpoint is a good place to start for them.

The other thing is the number of creating teaching strategies you can implement with powerpoint. Using sound and video, one teacher got the script of her video to scroll in ppt in time with the video - pretty good!

And I felt that the participants are being good advocates for both their students and their mentees. Branka should be very proud of her work in putting this together, and I am too!


Catherine said...

I attended a presentation on the TIMAC model at CCAE conference in Fresno in May 2007. It was simply inspirational to hear how other teachers were helping their peers and thereby overcoming a lot of resistance and fear to technology. There was nothing heavy-handed about it: the mentors were just "regular folks" with a desire to help others learn and start where the learners wanted to start. The distance between their "mentor status" and their regular "teacher status," in terms of their own knowledge and comfort with technology, was relatively short. Consequently, the mentors and mentees could pretty easily relate to each other and therefore be honest about what they didn't know, wanted to know, feared, etc. It was so impressive and gave me some insights into how to make professional development less "top-down" in approach.

Marian Thacher said...

Thanks for your reflections, Catherine. I think you're right, it's important that the mentees be able to identify with the mentor. When I first started doing this kind of work, 5 yrs ago, a site coordinator said, "It's really good that you have gray hair, Marian. The teachers identify with you more." Haha! How often is it a professional asset to look old??

Branka said...

Thank you, Marian, for saying that I should be proud of how TIMAC activities went this year. I do have to add that I was simply following the model that you, Laurie, Paul, Susan, Sheila and other great 'TIMAC parents' created. I want to thank them all for the work they've done. I am sure we are all looking forward to what's to come in TIMAC future.