Friday, December 16, 2011

Wrapping Up the Challenge


First off, we want to thank everyone who participated in the challenge. When we developed this idea, we hoped that we would be able to share some great tools, but also build a community of practice from which all of us could learn. To say that our hopes were fulfilled would be an understatement.

Not only did we have an opportunity to share and discuss 30 great tools, we learned about even more tools and creative ways to implement them from the lively discussion on the blog. We also heard many stories about how the participants were sharing the learning with others in the corporation. As of this posting we have 127 members of the blog. 76 people posted to the blog. 26 people finished the challenge and were entered to win the iPad 2.

Beyond that, we know that the impact of the challenge extended far outside of the EVSC. As of today, we've had over 11,600 hits on the blog from 32 different countries from 6 continents. Also, developers from some of the web tools we've featured have made contact and expressed thanks for the ideas we've shared for using their tools in the classroom. Also, other bloggers have linked to the blog and have shared the challenge with their audiences.

We're thrilled that this challenge has had such an impact on our members and on the profession as a whole. What's even better is that the ideas you've shared will live beyond the initial 30 days and will serve as an ongoing resource for others who are trying to imagine how to enhance learning with new tools. The posts alone are a good introduction, but the real value is the thoughtful commentary of a committed professional learning community. How cool is that?


On Tuesday, December 13th many of the participants gathered to meet in person, share ideas and to, of course, witness the drawing for the iPad 2. 

The winner was Melissa Mayer, a 4th-grade teacher at 
Vogel Elementary School! Congratulations!

Those who were able to attend the drawing were also given the opportunity to win other prizes, so that no one left without a new tool to use in their classroom. We hope that this event, like the challenge itself will continue to fuel our collective imaginations and help us to design engaging lessons for our students.

So what's next? We don't want this to be the end of our collaboration. The ICATS have plans to continue to use this site for future 30-Day Challenges, but even before that, we encourage you to share when you have new ideas for using these tools, by commenting to the appropriate post. We also encourage you to share the challenge with your colleagues, so that they can bring these great tools to their classrooms as well.

Our next 30-Day Challenge will begin in the spring. It will have a different focus, but will rely on the same need for professional collaboration. You can begin preparing for the next challenge by creating a Twitter account if don't already have one. Don't worry if you aren't familiar with Twitter, we will have special sessions during After the Bell where you can get hands on training. In the meantime, if you are looking for someone to follow in Twitter, you can begin with us: @twilhelmus, @mrg_3, @jjgleim. You can also search for #evscnetwork and follow the resources that get shared there.

If you have a Twitter account already, feel free to share it here as well. 

We wish everyone a happy holiday season and a well-deserved rest. 

With gratitude,