Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When Ripples Become Waves (Not the Google Kind)

I recently read a blog post by Tom Barrett. He wrote about seeing ripples, little bits of his teaching practice showing up in other places as a result of his interactions with other teachers. Today I realized a rather large ripple, possibly even a wave has passed through my school as a result of one very small interaction I had last November.

In the fall I attended a technology focused conference put on by the California League of Middle Schools. I went to great workshops and even delivered my own session about the way I use Google Forms, but about the ripple. I attended a session about Google Wave by Brian Van Dyck. I tried Wave, but I don't really use it. I couldn't get my students very interested in it. Brian used a Prezi as part of his session.  It was the first time I'd seen Prezi, but I only found it to be mildly interesting when compared to what I thought Wave would turn into. Wave fizzled for me, but Prezi lingered.

I made a Prezi myself to see if I could do it. Nothing fabulous, just a dynamic way to get my student's attention before their first semester final. I did not make another one and I still haven't, but I mentioned Prezi in a meeting and later sent the participants an example of one that was much better than mine. One of the senior English teachers, Michele McConnell, showed Prezi to her students, who were preparing for their senior exhibition. Some of those students showed it to their friends, who decided to use it also. A few weeks later many seniors had prepared Prezis.

My student teacher, Ms. Brandecker, had seen my early attempt and then saw a senior's exhibition that included a Prezi. She was working on a poetry unit with her class and wondered if they could use Prezi as part of their project. Working in teams they made very simple Prezis about the poems they had found and written. (Student created Prezis) They presented them today.

From a simple ripple, a small part of something I saw at a conference, something I mentioned in a meeting, the Prezi has become a wave at our school. (Not the Google Kind)