Log of chat session at Opening the Gates in Teacher Education conference
(February 2001)


michaelc HI and Welcome - we'll wait a few minutes and see who esle comes......

stevensb7 ok, howzit

vance magic

michaelc All's well! Yikes - It's vance!

vance why not? This is our element.

michaelc Yes - but you could have warned me!

vance Yes, thanks for all your help

jean hi ya michael

vance about what?

michaelc Hi again Jean. How;s rhe conference going?

jean wonderful

michaelc Good to hear. It;'s a great site.

jean we were oerwhelmed yesterday - today it's going easier on the system

jean thank you

vance It really is. I'm very impressed

jean Thanks Vance

michaelc What is powering this chat? Is it Biap?

jean guest2 - could you identify yourself

vance What client are you using, or did you make it yourself?

vance Michael and I think alike.

jean we put most of it together ourselves

michaelc Fantastic - you should go into business.

vance It's a great presentation tool.

jean the chat belongs to msn, we buiklt siome forums and other programs

michaelc Well perhaps we can formally start?

jean pls do

michaelc I know some of is know each other buut perhaops we can introduce ourselves....

michaelc I'll begin. ....

michaelc I'm a Professional Development officer for Online Education in TAFE, South Australia.

suzanne Hello! I am an ESL teacher in Philadelphia, USA

cchao Hello My name is Chin-chi, from Inidana University, doing distance ed for language teachers.

michaelc ...and I also work with Vance online in adiffernt part of my life!

michaelc Elaine and Jean are colleaugues in Israel

michaelc I don’t intend to 'present' in this session. Rather I would rather a mutual discussion of issues connected to the professional development of staff in online


michaelc So, does anyone have any questions or comments? Does anyone know of strategies that have been successful in enticing staff in your institutions 'through

the online gates'?

michaelc Vance - I;d like to know what you're up to in this area......

michaelc Or perhaps you all work with staff who are jumoing to get online.......

vance sorry, I was working in another window ...

michaelc Well speak now!

elaine sure:)

vance Elaine H just did a great presentation on that topic

suzanne My college has just begun to get connected and we are going slowly. There is a certain frustration with not having the technology available on campus yet to

do all that I as a teacher would like.

vance Basically our teachers are to the pt of developign a curriculum integrating internet

michaelc That is a universal problem - it requires patience

vance My strategy as call coordinator was to flood the place with computers and people just bootstrapped like crazy

michaelc 2So you had the money then?

michaelc Unlike Suzanne.

vance Yes, fortunately. I think computers have reached the point here of blending in with the woodwork.

suzanne I began trying to integrate technology into my lessons by providing discussion spaces(very primitive) through yahoo web page that I built

michaelc 2Was that successful Suzanne?

suzanne Of course yahoo was free. Then I moved into blackboard spaces which were more sophisticated and still free

jean I think we need to set the model for our teachers with events such as this - a virtual conference etc

vance This kind of development that S describes is often done by one person at an institution

suzanne Yes, I found it did what I set out to accomplish which was having them use English in as many ways as possible

michaelc 2Blackboard and Web CT (our platform) ar good like that.

vance How do you get the others on target?

suzanne I try to share with the other teachers how exciting it is for me and the students to get on line and learn in a different mode

cchao I am not sure about strategies but certainly holding postive and accepting attitude in helping them is the first step. I agree with Suzanne.

suzanne We still only have 3 terminals that can get on internet, which isn't practical for all the students to use!

michaelc Basically you have to try every strategy to suit all comers.

suzanne What is interesting to me is when you look at Best Practices, it always has technology in there...so as an institution, they are trying to catch up...

michaelc 2But it's treu about spreading the enthusiasm (as Suzanne said). It can be very infectious

suzanne Hi Eliyanah

michaelc 2But technology of course does not guarantee best practice!

suzanne True,

cchao I am glad you said that Michael!

vance administrators are crucial to the process. They have to telegraph that they expect development where appropriate using technology.

Eliyanah 6Hi, sorry I am late. It is earl;y mroning where I am, and I am a little blurry eyed.

michaelc Just like turning on the Tv does not autonmatically produce good programs!

michaelc No problem Eliyanah.

michaelc Where are you foir the record? (Eliyanah?)

suzanne I think it is revitalizing as a teacher to keep reflecting(as I see in many of your other presentations) on what does make effective learning, especially in this

new environment

vance I would be burned out as a teacher if not for the constant infectuous challenges of technology

Eliyanah I am in Ottawa, Canada. I see you've done intros. I just finished my M.Ed. at the University of Ottawa. My first love is Jewish Education and my second is

Distance Education.

miller 5Good morning from Mexico

michaelc What Suzanne said touches on the often mentioned 'paradigm shift'.....

michaelc For those who have recently joined in, we are sharing thoughts and ideas about how to entice staff 'through the online gates'? Feel free to join in at any


suzanne I have seen in my college, a growing spirit of collaboration between the disciplines, as people need to know how to use the technology(turn it on:)) and

incorporate it.

cchao It is powerful to reflect in a group where people have a chance to share their projects and examine their assumptions.

suzanne I also think it impacts the students in seeing faculty work together across discipline lines...building community

michaelc 2We have found the same - trainign of staff across programs has resulted in a unity that didn't exist before.

vance not to mention students. Suddenly there's something to talk about involving real communication

michaelc 2And this has been an unexpected benefit of online training for staff.

elaine we had a presentation from florida university when lecturers have the option of joining a year program to make a change innteh way they teach and move into

distributed learning- hey receive computer software- and wait for it a year of pay but with no teaching responsibilities!

michaelc Can I do that!!!???What can you add from mexico?

michaelc 2Sorry - the last comment was for miller!

miller A question. My courses are voluntary and since many of my teachers are computer novices, no one wants to take them. THey're afraid.

michaelc So what will you do with them? Or are you asking us??

texsar1b7 Good evening from japan. sorry I'm late. doing my Doc. in teach educ. at Nottingham. Am using WebCt and can see its advantages for teaching.

miller I'm asking you....

michaelc 2LOL

miller you plural

vance Do these teachers use word processors?

michaelc 2Well - to begin with show then some fantastic resources (from the Web)

miller yes and they are required to take basic computing courses but they're still afraid. I get materials turned in typed manually

vance Can you require that work be word processed?

vance That gets the ones who don't know how talking to the ones who can show them.

michaelc 2Try and get thme to make gentle beginnings with Net resoirces - printed out oif necessary. (though that will sound heretical to some)

suzanne Let someone who can see the applications for the specific disciplines go to the teachers individually and help them..I think one on one work helps...also

don't grade at first. give them the freedom to try the tech.

miller I think there is a group of teachers (probably all over the world) who are intimidated by all these technological advances. Most are middle-aged women at my

school. I really don't know what to do with them. we show them materials but nothing works

Eliyanah 6I am slowly waking up. :-) When I see how technology is being used in this conference, I wonder if we can learn more about the specific applications

here. This would really give the participants something to take away with the,.

michaelc 2YES!!! Mentors.

miller my courses aren't graded...just pass or why don't you rewrite

suzanne also....understanding what motivates people to change

michaelc Interesting point Eliyanah.....

miller mentors is an idea. I have them for other jobs but i hadn't thought about a computer mentor. thanks

michaelc 2Some organisations even make ue of studnet mentors.

suzanne I would love that

Eliyanah 6Miller- I have worked with many teachers like this. Some of them needed one on one, very slow demonstrations. They are still in a place where they are

afraid that they might break it if they choose the wrong option.

vance I would insist all work be word processed. In my experience everyone gets on board if it's a requirement. You could show them how to email attach their


cchao You know, students can be good help to teachers learning to do computer things. Good influence for both parties too

Eliyanah 6Yes but he's talking about a level of fear of the machine itself - much less email.

michaelc 2.Have you tried that cchao?

miller students tend to now more than we do---some campuses now require t to turn grades in on a disk. I imagine many hate this

cchao Yes, Michael.

vance I meant NEXT step have them move to email attachments (sorry not clear)

suzanne Is the fear of the technology and/or the loss of control in the classroom...again the old model of hierarchical power...teacher in charge, all knowing

michaelc 2Anything done by 'force' will be resented.....

suzanne can this fear be addressd?

suzanne to see the benefits of a collaborative classroom(school)

michaelc Fear wil abate when they see others being successful in this medium...

vance I've worked in situations, mid 80's, where people had the choice to use word processors, and without prodding, they all did.

michaelc ...you have to have a mechanism of publicing your successes.

vance By doing it they see the advantages. How did they ever live without it?

texsar1b7 god question suzanne. perhaps the fear can be reworked as motivation

Eliyanah 6Do all of your teachers have access to a computer?

miller I think with many people it's a badge of rebellion...everyone uses it so I won't

suzanne I think we are lucky to be at this stage of the game , because it is still acceptable to be a "novice" nobody expects you to be expert.... that is freeing and also

fun to explore the use and push it to the limits.

michaelc 2Where I work I'd say abiut 80%

suzanne teachers have access, students don't(to internet, that is)

michaelc Miller - those people IMHO aren't worth worrying about.

vance 80% access?

miller we have computer centers but teachers have to climb the stairs

miller true

michaelc 80% hacve a PC on their desk

vance And the 20% have access, right

michaelc Harness the neutral and postive people!

miller Michael, 80% with internet on the desk?

michaelc Yes Miller...

michaelc And yes V - the other s 20% have access

Eliyanah 6It makes a big difference - if a teacher has a tyepwriter on their desk, or the teacher has to walk somwhere to do what they like to do in their office....It

can definitely be a deterent for some.

michaelc 2What about where you are?

michaelc So to that extent the hardware has to be in place or else it's a dream

suzanne I agree it has to be convenient

michaelc ..and very frustrating for staff who are being asked to go online ....how can they???

michaelc I thnk it's important ot realise that we are still in the early days of this 'revolution'

vance That's what I was talking about though ... they have to see that it's actually easier to walk to the computer and do it quickly and efficiently than keeping sitting

at the desk

Eliyanah 6I operate in a slightly different environment. I have designed a prototype of a web-site to delive professional development to Jewish supplementary

educators. These are teachers who work in the religious/language sphere in a part-time capacity. So, I have been very aware of the possible barriers to use.

vance Most people see that when put in a position where they have to at least try. Once they try a couple of times, the process sells itself

michaelc 2I agree V - with most staff

suzanne Our college started with "Smart Boards" not on-line...but teachers where getting used to Power Point in their teaching. All had access to the software. So

they could see the benefits. We are moving towards networked classrooms and Internet connections. (A huge leap!)

suzanne I think this step by step approach has helped faculty

Eliyanah 6Vance I agree. The mindset of that teaccher may be hard to convince though. I have heard many people say that they still think better with the pencil in

their hand.

michaelc That's Ok

vance What if they just stick the pencil behind the ear, try it that way ...

michaelc People need to know that they don't have to goive up what they do well

Eliyanah 6Vance - :-)

miller Being a middle-aged woman---I also think better with a pencil...then I type it into the computer

michaelc The net is just another (amazing) tool/resource.

texsar1b7 we too have networked classrooms from last year, but they are underutilized ...at this time

michaelc How old is middle age??

miller over 50 and at 6 AM

Eliyanah 6I often think better with a pencil. But I wouldn't trade my cut and paste power for anything! I can even be in this chat room and take notes in another


vance This is part of the negotiation process, meet them halfway. Don't expect change right away, just demonstrate, model, help, them find a better way

michaelc smiles

michaelc Tex - are these networked classrooms with non pc desks also?

suzanne Also being open to letting instructors sit in on your class...let them visualize the possibilities, then dialogue about their own

texsar1b7 no... all faculty have one a top their desks - office desks(?)

suzanne our desks have connections for laptops at each station. The students will bring their own laptops when we get to that stage

michaelc That's a good idea Suzanne.

rasif 4(batya speaking): I like the point you made in your article about the gap between those who dived in first and the others hesitating to jump in. I also like the

range of solutions you offer. Speaking personally, technology can be very scary until you're forced to use it.

michaelc 2It is a BIG gap too.

Eliyanah 6For my part, I want teachers tp feel like they can access information on my site quickly nd easily. The research also shows a strong need for peer

support - or collegialty - a space to bounce the new ideas off others, or they don't stick. So I developed a bulletin board area and optional listserv (all still

non-functional prototype). My concern has been how to encourage users to stop in....

texsar1b7 yes..the desks have laptop access with the full presentation paraphenalia upfront

suzanne I think for myself, when it gets to the point that I'm not sure about the next step, I get a little scared..like what good will it do to have everyone connected at

the same time? How will I apply THAT step? Then I look for research on it and try to see what others have done. I can't always figure it out for myself. So if that

helps me in the process, maybe it will for others

miller I've put up all our course programs, etc. on a website and people still ask me to send them a paper copy

michaelc I thnk that;s OK

susak 13Hello , my name is Ziva. I am interested in the teachers program

michaelc You have to cater for people who want it that way (I think) - meet people who rely on print half way

Eliyanah 6Yes, but Miller you were saying that many of your teachers only have access through a coputer centre. I would still want a hard copy in that situation.

michaelc 2Ziva - join in any time you like.

miller Yes, but they can print out whateve they need.

susak 13Thanks

michaelc True - do they know this though??

miller yes.

vance So when they ask for paper copy explain to them how they can get one

miller Yes, and they've all taken courses on the internet. the school requires them

michaelc Exactly

susak 13What interests me how do you bring in teachers that had no experience in on line tools to join your program

vance In my present job I have to help a lot of people. The best way to help is with patient explanations.

suzanne and show and tell

vance Eventually you don't get the same questions, and people help each other

michaelc And face to face instruction

miller I'm going to have to go and get breakfast. this ahs been a great sessiona and i've gotten some good ideas. thanks to all

suzanne thank you

michaelc A pleasure miler - thank YOU.

vance And also I put up a web resource with those patient explanations, and part of my explanation is to say, as it says here in my web resource ...

michaelc And I can vouch for vance's patience - quirte extraordinary!

Eliyanah 6Vance - do you have the URL? That sounds like a really helpful resrouce!

vance It's on our Intranet, but you can try http://www.vancestevens.com/esl_home.htm for another resource

suzanne vance, do you teach ESL too?

vance I did for 20 years

michaelc Eliyanah - if you also check my site - http://www.chariot.net.au/~michaelc/ - under ESL teaching you may get some ideas

vance and I currently teach esl online with Michael

suzanne thanks for the resources

michaelc So we ahve talked about hardware and mindset issues - are there any others?

Eliyanah 6Thank you, I bookmarked them.

vance http://www.homestead.com/vstevens/files/efi/webheads.htm for the course

michaelc Support of admin and management I would also throw into the mix....

suzanne Do you feel that ESL lends itself to entering into the on-line arena, because it is by its nature something you would APPLY right away, where other areas,

like Philosophy, take more thinking to apply the tech,.

Eliyanah 6There was a fabulous virtual tour yesterday of an ESL site. You should check out the archive if you missed it.

michaelc OK

suzanne great!

vance Can you mention the presenter so we can look it up?

michaelc I'll let Vance answer that q from Suz.

Eliyanah 6Sure just a sec...

vance And that's exactly right Suzanne, precisely because it's something you apply right away it lends itself particularly well to an online envirnoment

michaelc My first thought is ESL is langauge based and so much of the Net is language based


vance because communication is the reason you learn a language and that's what you do on the Internet

vance And it's also what you do when you negotiate with teachers and peers how to use these bloody computers

michaelc I'd like to go back to Eliyanah's sugestion early - what reluctant tteachers ned is to see successful ctiviteis and resources that have the Net as ther starting



suzanne so...how to get other faculty to see the connections for useage in their areas?

Eliyanah 6That immediacy of use issue comes to play in other content areas too. I knew that in my specialty the teachers will come in probably the night before

they have to teach a class on something, and need some content and lesson ideas to take away with them...So for them to be able to get in and get out quickly, and

put their knowledge to use the next day or wahtever, would be a strength here too (outside ESL).

suzanne It was neat to see your"accent" come through

michaelc We could start a clearing house of such activities - webquests are useful in this respect.

michaelc Whose accent??(said defensively)

vance That's exactly it. By example. One thing we had success with was a sort of teacher's show and tell, what we called homegrown CALL

vance Seminars where teachers had 15 min each to show something cool theyd just developed. Went over well, lots of mind boggling ideas.

suzanne What a great idea!

Eliyanah 6It des sound good.

michaelc We have just a few minutes left - would everyone like to make a parting comment ....

vance Got a lot of other teachers thinking and building on what the others had trialed

michaelc ....about what they think works enticing teachers through the online gates?

jean sorry to stop this - our next sessions are going to begin - Penny Ur is one of them and Prof Feuerstein the other. Please join us in one of them.

michaelc Thanks Jean.

Eliyanah 6I;d be very interested to hear any of your comments on the prototype of my site which is up. I will be presetning later,.

vance I've got to run across town. I'll try to get on at my next destination.

cchao Thank you Michael and everybody for sharing.

stu micheal, thank you very much for this

michaelc Thank you all for coming - pleasiure stu

suzanne I see opportunities for increased communication among staff and community building between faculty and students...great possibilities. Thanks!

vance thanks Michael

Eliyanah 6http://www.consecol.org/~efitzpat/JCSC/

Eliyanah 6Thanks!

michaelc Noted Eliyanah.

Eliyanah 6Michael - really enjoyed your paper.

suzanne Eliyanah, good luck. I'll check out your site, too!

michaelc Thank you. I guess that's it then. Good night from Australia!

Eliyanah 6take care all...