A Global Collaborative Pioneer Retires Today: Janet Barnstable Thank You!

In the 1980's with a 1-800 number and a modem, teacher Janet Barnstable began to “itty bitty” trails that would become blazing bytes for many of us to follow.

If you are collaborating now, if you are skyping now… remember that you are standing on the shoulders of giants.  Giants like Janet Barnstable who did more with less.  They collaborated with computers that had less power than the cell phone in your pocket.  They did it.  What is your excuse? You have faster internet and faster computers than they could have dreamed of — DO IT!

I hope that us newcomers to this global collaborative landscape will never think we invented this stuff.  We are inheriting the skills, time, and dedication of our predecessors, many of whom we will never know.  And eventually we will leave a legacy like Janet has. 

I met Janet in Illinois several years a go when just starting out my speaking in education and she was such a courteous and amazing woman who took time to spend with me in Chicago.  Really, we didn't get enough time together, but she happened to send me an email last week and we “caught up” via email.

Janet is retiring TODAY after 48 years of teaching!  FORTY EIGHT YEARS OF TEACHING!

If teaching is a noble calling (and it is) — Janet is a Queen.

And yet, in her humility, she would point out other pioneers that she accessed via 2400 baud modem.  Those tenacious giants who stuck with it because they knew what this could become. 

Sometimes I think when I hear people speak (myself included) that we must have humility to know that many have left a legacy for us.  We must realize our place in history and serve well.  So, that one day when we retire others will share via their holographic log that we inspired them and helped them in their desire to collaborate between planets. ;-) (OK, that is far stretched, but you get my point.)

Why do we act as if today and tomorrow is all there is?  I was at K4 graduation last week and realized that some of those children will live to see 2100!  2100!!  We have brain implants, augmented reality, and complete integration of technology into our lives coming and some technologies whose implications scare me witless!  And yet, these children will be making decisions.

To divorce students from technology is to rip the future from them or even more so, rip the future from ourselves as we push out further into the future the health, environmental, and science innovations we need them to make.

AS for me, I thank God for such faithful and kind servant leaders as Janet Barnstable who have lit the way for us infants-in-technology to follow.  Take time today to thank those who have inspired you and have stayed the course.  Age should never be treated as a liability in education but for those who stay the course and do not give up and keep their positive attitude, as an inspiration for others to follow!

Happy Retirement, Janet!

Read her 2002 Global Schoolnet nomination award to see just what Janet has done.

I love what Matthew Kuntz said in his statement about Janet:

It is a pleasure to write this letter of recommendation for Janet Barnstable. I have learned more about the implementation of technology from Janet than from anyone else in my 16 years of teaching. I have known Janet professionally for more than ten years. I first met Janet at a statewide technology conference that focused on the integration of technology in the classroom. A colleague of mine suggested that I attend one of Janet's sessions- in her words she said, ‘Janet is awesome, you will come away with some great ideas.' Janet did just that and more! She gave me many practical ideas that I could use the next day in my classroom. After that, Janet became someone that I would contact constantly for guidance and expertise in the area of technology.”

Now that is someone to emulate!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Anonymous June 4, 2010 - 7:45 pm

+1. I’m new to the game. 6 years ago I was in high school and I remember having so little exposure to computers in the classroom. What a failure. My curriculum doesn’t have much room for it but anything that can get them to see learning side of technology will be good. Gonna try out “internet4classrooms,” they’re supposed to have a free summer learning program.

Pioneer November 1, 2010 - 6:20 am

thank u so much for ur article, i like it very much. and learn so much from that, thank u , really.

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