Post submitted by Sandi Lauzon and Helen Erickson
My name is Sandi Lauzon and I am the vice principal at Byrne Creek Secondary School responsible for technology. I try to attend the Computer Using Educators of British Columbia (CUEBC) conference every year, as it is without a doubt the best way to connect with like-minded educators who ultimately leave you inspired by the techno-risks they have taken in their classrooms. Their stories of innovative practices always start with a passion to shift learning and teaching in a new direction, but more often than not they include bureaucratic hiccups; creative work-arounds; young heroic teachers willing to take risks; and students who adapt, engage, learn, and, ultimately, teach us all.
At the end of the conference, I like to mill about and catch up with colleagues from other districts. With my iPad in hand, I asked one of the board members how the iPad Inquiry project was going. CUEBC lends out 11 iPads to teachers to use in their classrooms for a month at a time, and I had been following the project online. As it turned out, the iPads did not have a home for the following six weeks and I left the conference with them and a lot to think about before Monday morning. In my role at Byrne Creek, I had already been looking at how the iPad could be used with our English language learners, and now we had the opportunity to justify a purchase of 20 iPads if this pilot project was successful. All we needed was a passionate teacher with the skills to move beyond the apps, who could embrace the iPad as a powerful tool for student learning and was not afraid to jump in and explore the potential of the iPad as means of engaging, creating, and communicating.
Helen Erickson, without dipping her toe in to test the water, accepted the challenge and jumped right in. Here is her story.