Paul 'Lanny' Watkins is one of our latest Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and #MECClub member. To be fair, he is more Bilbo Baggins than Gollum. But, how many of you recognize his experience.
Being honest is not the easier thing and having to be honest is essential if I am going to write this blog. As I am writing this I am hoping that I discover I am not alone….and that someone out there can simply say "ditto".
In a recent survey I came across it stated over 85% of people said that recognition motivated them. I am definitely one of those. When I first discovered the Microsoft Educators Network (as I believe it was called ) I spent a lot of time completing the online courses. The success was motivational. I found myself wanting to start another after completely on. When colleagues would come into my room at lunch time and asked me about what I was doing I would briefly tell them but then quickly move on to show them how well I was doing. To my shame I may have once or twice told them to look at it but never really helped or directed them. I guess there was this mentality that as Head of ICT I should be the one at the top of the mountain, so to speak. I was so wrong.
I think that it would be fair to say I was a 'Gollum'. I would sit at a computer, working through the course, with self awe of what I was achieving, hiding it from others, just like Tolkien's character with his ring. I hadn't always been that way, and thankfully it didn't last that long. How many of us have been blessed with a strong department? I have. And in that department there are two of us! My colleague Scott (@scottgorvett1) is a PE specialist who is passionate about IT. He is leading Year 7 ICT and when I take over the classes in Year 8 I am so thankful for the foundation that he has laid. It's staff like him that raise the profile of ICT in a school. If I was to be asked the question what's the best thing you have done as a head of department I would have every right to say 'the 100% pass rate A*-C for last 3 years' or '50%+ rise in Level 6 attainment at end of KS3 over last two years' or 'the pupils predicted passes but left with distinctions', but it wouldn't be those. Maybe it would be my schools involvement in the production of Safer Internet Day 2015, or being invited as a guest speaker at various events, all things to be proud of but is not them.
The best best thing I did was introduce staff in my school to the Microsoft Educator Community.
If you want to cause a buzz about ICT in your school this is what you need to do:
1. Identify initially a small group of staff who have shown a passion for ICT and use it within their subject area
2. Get them to register on education.microsoft.com and take them through the site
3. Get them to sign up on twitter
4. Engage in promotion and encouragement with each other over achievements over twitter. Or as the pupils would say "get some banter going!"
5. Watch it grow
Whilst this grows it becomes infectious! Trust me. My nights are spent engaging with a number of colleagues about the MEC and their activities.
Achievements of a MFL teacher in 1 month Achievements of a PE teacher in 1 month
We currently have a competition going on between 3 teachers – PE, MFL and Primary. Their progress has been amazing. Between them they have earned over 30 badges and each have completed 3 or 4 learning paths.
How often have you entered school to be met by a singing and dancing french teacher/member of SLT because she earned a badge the night before!!!
And staff talk about what they see and want to be part of it. It's making CPD free and fun!
What is the role of a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert? Do you have a vision of by this time next year how many teachers from your school will be applying for the program? If not plan one now.
Encourage your staff to get involved, to put what they learn into practice. Ultimately to be innovative in ways that impact education in amazing ways.
Equip and encourage your staff to raise the profile of ICT at your school…and have a little fun along the way!
You can join #MECClub, our social media CPD by just following the hash tag and signing up for free to http://education.microsoft.com
The Microsoft Educator Community welcomes everybody, not just people of Middle Earth.