MI-Champions: A phenomenal mentoring program in Michigan and other ponderings at #MACUL10

Hello, my friends, I'm in Michigan this lovely evening and just had a delightful chat with my good friends Anne Truger, Hall Davidson, Steve Dembo, and Rushton Hurley – all fellow spotlight speakers here at MACUL 2010.  Attendance is up, which is delightfully great news – about 3,300 will be here tomorrow.

I enjoyed dining with Spotlight Speaker Chair, Ren Baldwin today at lunch as he discussed their Mi-champions Program. (See the video below.) The second class of graduates will be graduating at this conference (they have had 300 per “class”) and the third cohort will begin.  The year begins and ends with the MACUL conference here in Michigan. 

The premise of the Mi-champions program is that teachers of core subjects who are novices at technology education apply to the program and are paired with a “coach.” They have extra training in the summer and then coached and encouraged and mentored.  The attrition rate is very slow.  I WANT TO MEET SOME OF THESE MI-Champions tomorrow. So, if you happen to be here and read this blog, please introduce yourself.

Find more videos like this on MACUL Space

I'm so struck at how each state has a phenomenal “prize” or jewel – in New York where I was in January, there are some of the best 1:1 laptop practices I've seen and some amazing video conferencing work, in Arkansas, there is the incredible EAST program, and here they have MI-Champions.  I commented today to Ren that state technology programs are often so modest that they don't realize the prizes that they have and that other states need to hear about them!  It is important to share these best practices and help others learn – but how?

Somehow we have to strongly consider formalizing the documentation and submission process so that state organizations call also help be clearinghouses of information – whether spotlighting videos on their facebook page or creating videos where they need to happen – there have to be better ways for us to continue to share rather than the piecemeal way. (I love how Edutopia disseminates their information.)

It is an honor to be here at MACUL and truthfully I feel a huge sense of gratitude and responsibility. Gratitude for being able to do what I LOVE (teach and share) with educators.  The educators I've met here so far are so warm, genuine, and caring and just seem to love their students.  These types of educators are really every where I go — just great people. It is an honor to be among you!  I also feel responsibility as I want to give my 100% best for everyone. Push push push to be better.  But eventually each night before I present at about 1 am in the morning, I push my chair back and say —

“You know what, Vicki, you just need to be Vicki Davis — nothing fancy – just Vicki.  Give the presentation only you can give from your perspective.  Share as much as you can and realize that there are beginners to experts in the audience.  Just because it is old to you doesn't mean it is old to someone else.  Treat those in the audience as you want to be treated:  with love, respect, and gratitude for their attention and give 100% of your energy and strength to the presentation, realizing that if you push the thinking of those in the room, there will always be pushback – no one is ubiquitously loved by all, it just doesn't happen – but whether they like you or not is not the issue – are they a better person when they leave the room?”

So, this is what I want from presentations and you've gotten to hear my pep talk to myself.  Sure, I want to make sure they know about some of the latest things that have me pumped up (OAR FILES, Google Marketplace and other items) — but what has me most pumped up is that maybe there is another beginner out there – like me at GAETC in 2005 who just needs to know that this can be done safely in ways that improve the classroom and that you don't have to be some walking code manual to be able to do it!

And with that, my friends, I will again give my spotlight presentations in the mirror until I'm so exhausted that I again read this speech back to myself and let myself go to sleep!  Goodnight my friends.

I also want to say thank you to all of you who have been commenting and sharing here on my blog lately.  For a while, I don't know if it was just a busy time for me and I didn't blog as much but it seemed like the main people commenting were spammers.  Many of you have taken time to teach me through your comments.  I read EVERY comment and try to comment on them all. I work very hard to try to keep spammers out and just want you to know that your comments touch and move me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for blogging here at Cool Cat Teacher – for when you leave a comment, truly, you become part of what happens here on this blog.  Thank you!  And with that, I really will say goodnight!

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Vicki Davis

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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2 comments

Abbi March 11, 2010 - 9:51 pm

Being “just Vicki” is MORE THAN ENOUGH! Your differentiation presentation today was fantastic. I was already familiar with most of the technological tools you shared, but your viewpoint and the way you related the tools to different types of learners/projects/abilities was perfectly helpful. I was ecstatic to hear someone finally discuss how technology is not a savior, but a vehicle for best practices. Thanks for all you do to contribute to the people around you–your family, your students, and educators at large. We appreciate it!

Quality Research Services March 14, 2010 - 9:09 pm

Very nice video thanks for sharing.

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Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere