Monday, October 24, 2011

IACoPi: A Force of Change

When I walked into Adventureland Inn last April I was unaware of the life changing events that were about to take place. What I thought was a meeting to begin working on a blended e-curriculum for Social Studies became a journey that is mind-boggling to look back on. It is not an exaggeration to say that IACoPi has changed my teaching, my life, and the lives of my students.

The opportunities made available to me through IACoPi changed the face of my classroom. From blended learning to project-based learning to professional development on e-instruction, IACoPi changed all my classes in some way. My 6th and 10th grade students will each participate in a full year of instruction based in project based learning. All seven of my classes, from 6th grade through 12th grade, are working in a blended learning environment. Although my district is not part of a one-to-one initiative, IACoPi and its members inspired me to give my students the best of one-to-one blended learning and combine it with research-proven instructional strategies.

IACoPi inspired me to become more collaborative and to flatten the walls of my classroom. My students have had the opportunity to work with other Iowa districts, to Skype with professionals as it relates to our course of study, and work with teachers from other states to provide another point of view for our work. They have used Twitter to reach out about new subjects and Today’s Meet to invite other educators and administrators into our discussions. My students are becoming independent thinkers and learners through project based learning. They are mastering life skills through the content as opposed to memorizing facts about the content. They are communicating with peers and adults, creating their own work at new levels, and thinking critically about the world around them in a new way.

IACoPi has also changed my life. I have made friendships, taken on new leadership positions at school and in my community, and made it a priority to become a better member of a global society. I hope to use my IACoPi resources to inspire these ideals in my students. Each of my classes has taken on a community based service project as part of their learning. I created a student technology team to increase student leadership opportunities and encourage students to take ownership of their own learning.

The CoPi is so much more than a collaborative work environment. It is a mind set, a way of learning, and a way of living. We must all work together to help our students achieve their fullest potential. We must all work toward contributing to a meaningful global society. We must all work together to be better.