“Free” but not taken

I am a bit disappointed that a morning conference/workshop that our Western Massachusetts Writing Project was planning for teachers in our region later this month sparked almost no interest whatsoever from anyone (it was open to anyone, not just WMWP folks). Only six people signed up (two of those are colleagues at my school) and so we made the decision this week to cancel the event.

I am trying now to think about why this is.

In the past two years, we’ve had about 25 people sign up for similar technology events and this year, we had the theme of “No-Cost Technology” for teachers and classrooms, thinking it dovetailed nicely with the state of the economy and the limited resources of teachers.

Our WMWP Tech Team was going to show how to use Glogster EDU, and Open Office software, and Voicethread, Wallwisher and more.  It was advertised as a hands-on workshop, full of play with these tools and guidance on the possibilities in the classroom. These tools are all parts of the tapestry of the Net that are so easy to use and cost no money. I hoped there would be interest and thought there would be.

But maybe the time of year is not so good (we are in the midst of state testing), or folks are not interested in “free” but in a special focus (in other years, for example, we focused in on digital storytelling and technology across the curriculum). Maybe the location wasn’t convenient for folks. Did the token registration fee of $30 drive some people away? (Did the fact that there was any kind of fee for a conference billed as free tech strike folks as odd?)

Or maybe technology integration into the classroom just is not a priority for many folks these days, which alarms me a bit.

So, we canceled the event and now we, the WMWP Tech Team, have another Saturday to spend with our families, which is not such a bad thing, right?

Peace (in the reflection),

  1. How depressing. We have a conference coming up on April 19-20. You are invited. We are saved because we are connected to My Learning Plan for pd credit and advertised with our teacher’s center and BOCES and we have college kids coming from SUNY NEw Paltz.


    I’m going to try and change my preferences.

  2. Kevin,

    I am sorry to hear not more were interested. I believe, unfortunately, you hit the nail on the head with, “technology integration into the classroom just is not a priority for many folks these days.” This past week we had a teacher teach an IWB course to make them more student interactive with “magic hats” and “containers” etc. It was free with 25 slots and only 12 signed up.

    Being new to my position as the district technology coach, I am glad there are teachers like you to inspire us to help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum.

  3. Hi Kevin,

    As you know I too teach out here in the Happy Valley. I can’t remember seeing anything advertised about this event at my school. Who do you contact when you advertise these events? Principals? English Department chairs? Technology coordinators? Getting the message to the right people who can then pass it along to the interested people is the first step.

    Speaking from experience, I am much more likely to attend a conference if it is scheduled during the week, as opposed to the weekend. Time is such a rare commodity for us during the school year that I’m hesitant to give up the little free time I have on the weekends to do more school work than I’m already doing. When professional development is scheduled during the week, teachers get a little bit of a breather from the classroom, something that’s beneficial in its own right.

    I am interested in integrating technology into the classroom. I am currently enrolled in a graduate program with Boise State University for a master’s in educational technology. So I would love to attend something like this in the future.

    I also recently accepted an offer to help craft a Massachusetts Online Secondary English Curriculum. I’ll be working with other area teachers to develop an online course in the fall, then I’ll teach one section of it in the spring.

    By the way, I have purchased and am reading your book. Thanks again for your pioneering work!

  4. Kevin,
    Sorry to hear about your “not enough to attend” reason for shutting down the event. Unfortunately, there seems to be lots of causes for people not taking advantage of new learning experiences. It is good to have the unexpected family time, but I can tell you were a bit deflated. Keep plugging away, your one of the people who got me going and you are several hundred miles away.

  5. Wow… I live in Ohio and if I were nearby, I would have loved to come to this workshop! I’ve been looking at all the technology you use with your students and am overwhelmed with a feeling of inadequacy. I would love to know how to implement Wallwisher, Glogster, Animoto, Prezi, etc.

    Thanks for inspiring me and my students with what you and your students do!

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