Thursday, July 8, 2010

Making an Impact

impact The little things you do can sometimes make a bigger impact than you think. Over a year ago I was asked to give a presentation to the state presidents at the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) conference in Seattle. I love to share new things that I’ve learned with others hoping that they will find this information useful too. Many times I’ve been to presentations that sound great but the reality of life hits when I return home and many times, the information falls by the way side. When I left the conference, I hoped that I stirred up people’s interest in some tools and that they would think about using them.

I never imagined that Nancy Dumke (President of MN­CEC) would contact me and want to delve into the tools even further. I was so excited that she wanted to give Flashmeeting a try. I know there are other tools out there but this tool works for me and I’m comfortable with it. Of course I had to keep reminding myself not to overwhelm others with too much information in my excitement of sharing. We did some practice runs and the introduced it to others in her network. It was so exciting to see others learn to use something that I really enjoy. Once they got the hang of it, they seemed to take off running and I was so proud of them (like a mother hen!).

Then recently a member of MNCEC sent me a copy of the newsletter where I was mentioned. I have to admit that I was in shock because I didn’t realize that I made such an impression. I really want to thank Nancy Dumke for thinking I had something of value to share and then allowing me to share the information with others. It was also a thrill to know how my sharing had made an impact in their organization.

If you don’t mind, I wanted to share with you the letter from the MN CEC President to the MN membership:

“Letter from the President By Nancy Dumke

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your MNCEC President this year. It has been a memorable opportunity for growth in many ways. One that I will share with you specifically has been in the area of technology. I would also like to introduce to you an exceptional educator from the national CEC board.

A year ago at the National CEC Conference in Seattle, a woman named Pat Hensley spoke at the President’s Break- fast meeting. Pat is a volunteer on the national CEC Board of Directors. She is a retired special educator who has decided to share her retirement by educating teachers on electronic communications.

As she spoke, I was impressed with Pat’s knowledge, confidence, and sense of humor when discussing the benefits of Facebook, Twitter, FlashMeeting, etc. Her energy for the subject was clearly energizing those in the room.

At first I was overwhelmed by the volume of possibilities. Thankfully, Dr. Jeanne Danneker, our MNCEC Secretary, was sitting next to me. We pondered how this could apply to the people we were representing from Minnesota. By the time we left that meeting, we were eager to try a FlashMeeting with our Minnesota Board of Directors and Division Representatives.

From April to September 2009, Pat answered my emails. She patiently and calmly taught me what was needed to use the FlashMeeting tool. We practiced before the fall board

retreat and we devised a backup plan.

Finally the retreat day arrived. Pat logged in from her vacation site in South Carolina and volunteered to share an hour with us. Her teaching strategies were effective as our crew of 17 logged in on their computers and we were able to see and hear Pat while she taught everyone how to use FlashMeeting.

When our hour ended, I wondered: What would they think about this idea? Would it be effective for our board meeting? Did it have the potential to save time and possibly money? The board was receptive and agreed to try one of our scheduled meetings as a FlashMeeting. The April meeting was designated as the best fit.

As I prepared for the April board meeting, I wondered how the electronic meeting would go. This time we would be on our own. We tried to review and remember what we had learned back in September. Some gathered together to share computers and coffee. All were able to log in, and most had live pictures as well as sound.

We were able to accomplish a 90 minute meeting in about 100 minutes, rather than adding 1 – 5 hours of travel time. The travel reduction saved us $1,000. The reviews came back that we should try it again, perhaps one or two times a year.

Spring time is often busy with celebrations and remembering the past year. I hope that you will have a few quiet moments to reflect upon your year and will remember what you and your students have learned.

I am grateful for Special Educator Pat Hensley and the lessons she continues to teach. I am also grateful for being able to learn new technologies that can potentially save both time and money. The challenge is still with us to recycle those savings into educational dollars for our students. ❁”

So, I would like to encourage others to share your knowledge. Don’t be afraid. There are people out there that will benefit from the information that you may know. We need to be able to teach students but also reach out to our colleagues. Think about conferences that you go to and consider being a presenter. Think about a topic that you think was left out that you might have some experience with. Maybe that is something you can share about next time. Even when I presented about Voicethread one year, I was able to gain new information from some people in the audience. They were able to share some info that I had not known about or didn’t know how it applied to specific situations. So I hope that you will consider this and think about the possibilities that you have control over. I think it is important to pass it on.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Eruption' by: Andrea


Clix said...

Congratulations! Isn't it wonderful to be validated?! Good for you! :D

Anita C. McCants said...

Congratulations! It's a wonderful
thing when you share information
that others find helpful. :^)

Lona said...

We often don't realize the impact we've had on others. Thank you for giving me a boost, Pat. Blessings!