Dare I Say It? by Bob Sprankle

As I start this post, I'm knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, crossing my fingers, and making sure I don't step on any cracks in the sidewalk because I hope I'm not jinxing myself. But I'm starting to think that just maybe-perhaps-possibly this might be... the "Tipping Point."

There. I said it and my computer is still working (always a good sign of luck). I've been thinking it for a while and it feels really good to finally put it to words. I could be totally off my rocker, but I'm starting to think that the year 2010 is the year where Tech Integration gets its "Tipping Point" and teachers, administrators, and parents are finally starting to embrace en masse this "21st Century Stuff" that's been talked about, blogged about, written about, podcasted about, Twittered about, etc. for the past 5 to 10 years.

I've been waiting for this day for a long time, as many of you have, and I'm sure your skepticism is at "high alert," but let me lay out the evidence.

First off: my job is easier. Why? Teachers are coming to me asking for help with technology. Really. It's as if I no longer have to chase them down with shiny, new gizmos to hook their interest in incorporating 21st Century Skills into the classroom... they're tracking me down now. It's wonderful.

This could be in part due to the fact that our county had a Tech Consortium for administrators this past summer, where not only were administrators convinced that they are the Technology Leaders in their schools, but were also persuaded to blog, use flip videos as a group, and create a Technology Vision to bring back to their own districts and schools.

My principal laid out our Tech Vision the first month of school and it was heartily embraced by teachers. I can't walk down the hall without someone asking me a question that somehow relates to their own identified Tech goal and recently, my school dedicated an entire Professional Development day to Technology Integration.

On top of all this "goodness," parents have taken me up on my longstanding invite to start a Parent/Teacher Tech Group. We begin this week and will identify goals for future meetings (I'll continue to write about our progress in future posts). The group will run much like a "Book Club," where all members will contribute and help build the direction, topics, and issues the group wants to examine. There is already real excitement building around the possibilities such a group will provide, and we haven't even met yet.

Another piece of evidence that this may be the "Tipping Point" year, is that I've given a handful of presentations recently centered on building a "Personal Learning Network" for teachers. I've primarily focused on using Twitter as a starting point (due to its easy setup and simplicity of use) and this is the first year where teachers have not "rolled their eyes" during the presentation and have taken to the tool with open arms (and minds).

I'd like to leave you with THE BEST presentation on building a Personal Learning Network by using Twitter that I've ever attended: Angela Maiers presenting at ACTEM this past month on "I'm On Twitter, Now What?" Angela graciously allowed me to podcast this for my "Bit by Bit" blog, and you can listen to it and grab the show notes by clicking HERE. (If this presentation doesn't convince you of the power of a Personal Learning Network or the value of Twitter, I don't know what would). A BIG Thank You to Angela!

So... am I dreaming? Am I wrong, or are others starting to find the same thing at their own schools ---that folks are climbing aboard the Tech Integration Bus, fueled by skills that are necessary for our students' futures? What's happening in your neck of the woods?

------------------------ photo credit: Max Z