Friday, January 16, 2009

Encouraging Authorship

One of the things that has kept me busy this week is working on a presentation for ITEA's upcoming conference in Louisville (March 26-28, 2009). The title of the presentation is "Writing for The Technology Teacher" and the intent is to encourage more classroom teachers to write for ITEA's flagship journal.

In my 11+ years at ITEA, I constantly find myself trying to find new and innovative ways to encourage more writing by teachers. I firmly believe that each teacher has experiences that could benefit others and that they truly WANT to share those experiences. Unfortunately, an already hectic schedule often sabotages that intent. 

We ran a similar presentation about three years ago and it was very well-attended - which tells me that there are plenty of teachers out there who have an interest. Our job is to demystify and simplify the writing and submission process and that's what we hope to accomplish in the session.

At the culmination of the session, I plan to introduce several teachers who have successfully authored articles. One is Brian Lien, a technology and engineering teacher from Cincinnati, Ohio. According to an ITEA survey, Brian wrote the #1-rated article last year, on his experiences with his students to create a machine that counts how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. Brian has a new article, due to be published in the March 2009 TTT, about building a new activity from scratch: creating underwater ROVs. I believe this will be one of the top-rated articles of the 2009-09 publishing year. Why? Because it's what our members want - to understand what's going on in others' classrooms and possibly figuring out how to make it work in their own. 

Because they're asked to do so much with limited resources, most of the teachers I know take on somewhat of a "scavenger" mentality. Building something out of very little. The type of information that is shared in TTT articles goes a long way towards helping other teachers create things that work in their own schools. This is one way that teachers can truly help one another.

FYI - the session is scheduled for Friday, March 27th at 3pm in Louisville.

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