On November 2oth about a hundred or so people came far and wide for a tour of Burlington High School to see all of the ways that we have successfully integrated technology into the curriculum. Members of the Help Desk spoke to the large group about ourselves and the Help Desk for about half an hour and then broke up to take groups of around seven on tours. My group was an odd case, however. As I got up to take the first group outside, instead of seven people, twenty-five got out of their chairs in the auditorium and followed me out. It was a class of UMass Lowell English grad students and their teacher. The perspective I received giving the tour to a teacher and his students was a unique experience because every time I shared something with the group the man followed up with questions like “Now, what can we learn from this?” and “How would this be beneficial to us specifically?” making each aspect of the tour a teaching moment. My tour went really well and I thought I did a good job of suggesting things that are done at BHS that would be beneficial to a group of future high school english teachers by giving personal examples and showing english-specific classrooms in addition to showing other subject classrooms and unique integrations as well. I did the majority of the talking on my tour but I think that when people needed smaller scale questions answered they asked both myself and Demitrios. I visited Mrs MiKinney’s classroom, Ms. DeSousa’s classroom, Mr Wood’s classroom, the lower library, the Help Desk, Mr Parkin’s classroom, Mr Mackay’s classroom, and Mrs McKee’s classroom. My group got to see students using notability, working on personal blogs, comparing edmodo and google classroom, video taping with the green screen, viewing teacher’s websites, taking notes on evernote, using turnitin.com, sharing google folders with teachers, editing through drive, and many more. From the feedback I received from my group, I would say they were very impressed. I have experience in similar settings, but I enjoyed being in the “spotlight” during my tour and getting the opportunity to address a large audience. One of my favorite moments of the tour was when a member of my group pulled me aside to ask me a few personal questions about myself and my club, as I shared that I often use google forms for the club I am president of, Best Buddies. He shared that he occasionally teaches students with disabilities and that he looked forward to a possible future integration of technology. He told me that he thought I did a really good job running the tour and that he learned a lot. These kinds of real word public speaking and performance opportunities are not uncommon for Help Desk members and I think I speak for all of us when I say we are extremely thankful for them.
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