Today was filled with nostalgia and gratitude for me as I spent the day working with staff from North Country Career Center introducing them to the power of mobile devices. I had the pleasure of driving through one of the most beautiful spots in Vermont - so beautiful in fact that it has been dubbed "The Northeast Kingdom". The foliage did not disappoint as I drove through Jay Peak down to Newport. How fortunate the staff and students are to have their high school and Career and Tech center located on international Lake Memphremagog. As I approached memories flashed back of my high school years here, my children's high school years here, and 15 years of teaching in these halls.
Many of the staff I taught with were still here and inquired about my children whom they had as students. The building has been significantly improved and expanded as have the programming. The programs I started here including Computer Technology and Internet Technology are still here, but have been updated to include topics like Game Design and Programming for mobile devices. As a matter of fact, the program I had started in as an instructor--Business Technology is being revamped to a Travel and Tourism program by great friend and colleague Nancy McDermott.
One of the biggest kicks of the day was when, John Wagner, showed me the upgrades he and his students have made to project based learning unit I had designed in partnership with the physical education department to use technology to streamline the collection and distribution of data at a district wide fitness event. Every year we would upgrade the project by adding new capabilities of new technology, and I laughed out loud to see that Mr. Wagner and his students had continued to evolve the project to some of the technologies were covered today --QR readers and creators with mobile devices
I remember helping the auto technology teacher (my friend and colleague, Joe Seguin) set up one of the first computerized auto repair databases in the form of a collection of CD programs called Mitchell on Demand. It was the perfect setting by which to introduce the power of using mobile devices to carry and access whole collections of interactive, multimedia ebooks and databases. No more running from under the hood of the car to the back room to locate the right part image and instructions from a collection of CD's.
I remember getting the school's first gooseneck document camera so that I could demonstrate the insides of a computer to my whole computer technology class to make learning more visible and relevant. Today I showed how the camera from a mobile devices brought that power and more to any location in the room untethered by the use of APPLE TV and the iPad's native cameras.
How exciting it was to use the new iPads with staff to kickoff creating multimedia ebooks of their program in their space filled with images, sound and video. The current director, Eileen Illuzi drove the point home when she integrated videos and pictures of a recent fire control exercise from the protected services program. I got a chance to show solar optimization apps as one of many tools for Tim to use in his sustainable energy program, along with an interactive 3D skeletons to the health careers program. The power of mobile devices to travel to Fern's land lab, Dan's building sites, or Jillian and Joe's co-op locations became self-evident. The power of mobile devices to offer to personalize and differentiate reading for every interest and learning style was driven home by exploring Zite, Fliboard, resources on iTunes University and more. My only regret was that the day was too short, but I hope to return to expand on the learning we started today.