K12 Online Conference to check out – Hardware is Not Enough – The Teacher/Facilitator Partnership by Kim Cofino (@mscofino)  and Chrissy Hellyer (@nzchrissy.) 

Their presentation is part of the Team Captain’s strand of the conference and they discussed examples, resources, strategies, processes and resources that can aid the relationship between teacher and facilitator.

After watching their video I am reminded why I talk sooo much about tech integration.  I am a classroom teacher who has dived head first into the tech integration world.  One of my co-workers, Devin Howard, always jokes about how he invited me to participate in an Intel Workshop years ago and I have left him behind. He makes this comment because that first Intel Workshop turned into 2 and then I took workshops on using digital cameras, flip cameras, wikis, blogs, voki, etc…  Once I got bit by the technology bug, I was forever transformed and wanted to transform the world right along with me.

I am not an official Technology Facilitator at my school but I do facilitate as often as possible. Whenever and wherever I can get someone to listen to me about Web 2.0 tools, I talk about them.  Kim and Chrissy talked about the need for a working relationship between the teachers who want and need resources and the facilitators who can help them take their lessons to a new level. They discussed the Who? What? Where? Why? and How? of fostering these relationships.  I needed this reminder/peptalk because there really are people who do not yet see the need for these collaborative efforts and it is, at times, disheartening. 

Wednesday I presented a session at LaCUE called Are You Online Yet? and my goal was to have the participants create a Twitter account, a blog and a wiki.  There were only 4 people (5 including the tech support guy who sat in and contributed) in my session BUT I felt good because everyone there left with a Twitter account and a blog.  We were not able to create a wiki because we spent a lot of time on Twitter and creating their blog.  They had questions and I provided answers and examples. WOW I facilitated!!! 

I feel good about the work that we did because as we began our work one of the teachers asked why she needed a blog.  She said “I don’t have anything important to say.”  I felt heartbroken and I had to fight back the tears because as a classroom teacher I hate it when we feel like we are not valued as an integral part of the education process.  The facilitator in me immediately jumped in and I told her that she had lots to say: the good and bad of a lesson, news about what was going on in her class, news updates that she might want to share with parents and colleagues, etc. Her next question was ‘Who will read it?’  Again the facilitator spoke up and said “Anyone you share a link with will read your posts.”

I talked to her not as a classroom teacher; but as someone who is available and ready to jump in and assist with ideas, resources and support. It was wonderful to be able to help teachers create an online presence.  That same participant who did not feel as though she had something to say went from creating a personal and classroom blog to considering how to create a blog for her school. 

In their presentation, Kim and Chrissy (and others) spoke about ways they could help one another.  We need to create more of these connections. I made a point of making sure that everyone had my contact information so that they could contact me if they had questions or needed help with anything. I did this because just like Kim and Chrissy said “Hardware is Not Enough – The Teacher/Facilitator Partnership” is important. 

Their presentation helped to invigorate my efforts to educate my colleagues at my school.  I took it upon myself to create a wiki and blog for the school and have not gotten any real support from others but thanks to Kim and Chrissy, I will continue to try to create an environment that promotes collaboration and facilitation.