Last MEMSET for the year and perhaps forever!

Well, that is a bit dramatic, but true on one level. The Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educators using Technology (or Educational Technologists) met for the last time today at BB&N Middle School. It is amazing to sit in a room of teachers and tech specialists talking about independent elementary and middle school technology topics.

One thing we recently ran up against was that the acronym MEMSET has been taken, so we can not get the com or org domain. We need to rebrand to move forward. Thus, MEMSET will be no more. We will be another group next year–the group formerly known as MEMSET.

Tonight’s discussion covered benchmarks/standards, how they are integrated in the classrooms, how they are reported, and how different constituents are held accountable for them. Then over dinner, we had presentations from different members on tech integration projects. One particular one struck me. A third grade project using conductive thread to create circuits on a quilt echoed the many articles I have been seeing on wearable electronics.

I look forward to this group, under its new name, continuing the great work next year.

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MEMSET

When I taught in St. Louis, I held a leadership role in the Teacher Services Committee of the Independent Schools of Saint Louis. This group provided professional development for teachers in independent schools. One of the most popular offerings we created was regular affinity group meetings for different constituents in the schools. We would have whole day workshops in which a specialist would present in the morning, there would be a social, working lunch, and that would be followed by best practices work within the group. This would be small groups, roundtable, or another sort of group work. The art teachers and music teachers loved the chance to get together with others like them, especially when they were the only ones in their school. I participated in the fourth grade group because at that time I was a fourth grade teacher.

Last year, two educational technologists started MEMSET, Massachusetts Elementary and Middle School Educators using Technology. This is an affinity group for teachers who use technology. Both IT specialists and classroom teachers participate. It has been wonderful to feel that energy and connection again, but this year the group slowed down. I agitated for a meeting and started calling people to get the numbers up. I hope this has helped the efforts of others in the group to re-energize  the group. Several of us have added some organizational elements. Tuesday night’s meeting was very good. We had a great talk about iPads, we set an agenda and location (and a loose date) for the next meeting, and we did a little organizational work as well. I am really looking forward to the next meeting in which we will take a swing at looking at standards and scope/sequence documents. We wanted to look at how to create them, how to implement them in the classroom, and how to keep them living documents.

It feels great to start building this network amongst the IT professionals in the area independent elementary and middle schools. They are a wonderful group of people with whom to spend a Tuesday evening.


MEMSET

Last year, two technology educators in the Boston area started a group, Massachusetts Middle and Elementary School Educators using Technology (MEMSET), to fill a void. Most technology professional development is aimed at high school teachers, and there is a real need to network in the elementary and middle school level. It was wonderful to join in as this group started, and I am energized after each meeting. This year, the group has stalled out a bit; I am putting some energy, along with others, to get it going again. I have pushed for a new meeting which will happen in two weeks. In addition, I have sought out educational technologists at schools that have not attended and sent emails to the ones whose email is listed on their websites. Tomorrow, I hope to call schools to contact others who have no emails listed.

When I was a classroom teacher based in St. Louis, I put quite a bit of energy into helping organize teacher meetings for independent school teachers. These meetings allowed teachers of similar grades or specialist subjects to spend time together and share their resources and stories. For many it was a relief to meet others when they were the only person holding that particular job in their school. I remember the art teachers really connecting and carrying the networking forward.

In much the same vein, I hope that this group can really take root and make a professional community that sustains our growth as a whole and my own personal growth as a technology educator.