from the Director's Desk

Musings about school library media and instructional technology programs from NCDPI's Instructional Technology Divison.  Subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

LSTD 2007

Yesterday was the third Legislative School Technology Day in Raleigh. And what a success! Sixty-five schools from across North Carolina sent their students and teachers to demonstrate how they use technology for 21st Century teaching and learning. We saw such interesting things yesterday: hydrocell cars, podcasts (a middle school interviewed legislators about the technology used in their schools as they were growing up. What an eye-opener for them!), science experiments, a live exchange with a teacher's son in Thailand, even a video update of a book finished in class while part of them were in Raleigh at LSTD! A State Board member said that she truly understood now why funding technology was important--"You can do so many more interesting, compelling things with technology! Learning is just more exciting!" Well-said.

But amidst all our enthusiasm for the day, please allow me a moment to talk about the back-stage planning. Yes, I am going to tell you about the incredible teamwork necessary to put on Legislative School Technology Day. And I cannot, regardless of the length of this post, do justice to it. Every single person in the Division of Instructional Technology is responsible for a portion of LSTD's success, from the small things like making sure the names of the partners are spelled correctly on the t-shirts, to taping down power cords so no one will trip; from e-mailing every single legislator reminding them to come see their school(s), to staying in the office to answer phones while the rest of us basked the success of the moment; from providing the power generators and laptops that the schools used, to helping to pay for lunch and t-shirts. Technology businesses and services, every-day competitors, team with us at DPI to make this day a shining success. Even NCAECT gets into the act, with Jeff Tudor keeping our books!

But there are unsung leaders in this event and today I would like to highlight three: Wynn Smith, John Brim, and Dan Sparlin. Wynn has the organizational mind of a wizard! She is behind all the logistics of the schools' attendance, from original contact to t-shirts on the tables for students to don when they arrive. Nothing gets past her steel-trap mind--every school and their legislator is contacted and logged--over and over again. Every map indicates school placement, with each analyzed for visibility (younger ones in front, high schoolers behind if we must), every vendor contact and contribution tallied and accounted for.

Then there are John and Dan, the connectivity team. They have to organize generators to bring power into the building, the connectivity so necessary for technology, even the extension cords and power strips that connect each table's equipment! And all this within the parameters of the Legislature, an organization that must maintain at least a semblance of business-as-usual in spite of the intrusion and whose staff really does work with us far beyond the call of duty--all in the name of what's good for children! It's a logistical dance that's amazing to behold as it comes together--starting at 9am the day before.

So, three months of planning and a 40-hour blitz to pull this off. The Division of Instructional Technology is the most amazing team! I very publicly, and humbly, say Thank You!


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