BbWorld 2012 – A Sneak Peak on Switching from Wimba to Collaborate – Change is Not a Four Letter Word
The following is a guest post from Mark Radcliffe, Director of Learning Management Technologies at blendedschools.net Mark Radcliffe is the Director of Learning Management Technologies for the not-for-profit company blendedschools.net. Mark has worked in various K-20 education positions for the last 10 years including working directly with students and teachers on technology integration projects. At blendedschools.net Mark manages the instructional technology program, communicates directly with Blackboard on a daily basis and handles many aspects of the company’s professional development program. Mark is currently located in Norfolk, Virginia, USA but is originally from Manchester UK. He enjoys the city and loves music and the visual arts. Get an insider’s look…. This year at BbWorld I’ll be presenting “Wimba Classroom to Blackboard Collaborate – Make the Switch,” which is probably one of my simpler session titles in a while. I usually try and cram as many buzz words into my titles as possible. My hope is that it will attract people who look for buzz words and also attract people that get the irony of session titles with buzz words. In the end I went with a simple title this year because I wanted to illustrate that the process of switching from Wimba to Collaborate should not be complicated. I have been working with K-12 educators for over 10 years now, helping them integrate technology into their classrooms. For the past five years I have been working with blendedschools.net, which has the most active K-12 online learning community in the country. It’s a challenging job as we only have eight people supporting over 75,000 users in four different states. Working “to the masses” like this gets you familiar with new tools pretty quickly because you have 1,000s of teachers just waiting to tell you what they hate about something new. The challenge is getting them to like it before the hate switch kicks in. In my session at BbWorld 2012, I am going to detail how we went about switching from Wimba Classroom to Blackboard Collaborate. We spent a lot of time crafting a very detailed list of differences between the two products and getting solid feedback on what items were showstoppers for teachers. I also spent a lot of time saying, “Really that’s a show stopper? You couldn’t just click that button instead?” My hope for this session, and for BbWorld 2012 in general, is that we take “misery loves company” and make it “happiness loves company.” Let’s not pretend that change is easy; at blendedschools.net we still have plenty of teachers that have not switched, but I hope to communicate that embracing change can be much more fun and fulfilling than trying to make the new conform to the old. My first thought when I see anything new is “what is it about this tool that is awesome?” not “What can’t it do?”. If you are reading this blog before my session, please feel free to throw out your questions and experiences and I’ll be happy to include answers to them through the blog or in the session itself. It wouldn’t be web 2.0 if I couldn’t use someone else’s ideas and pass them off as my own. Also follow me on the various social media: @bsnhomeroom Blendedschools Facebook http://share.blendedschools.net Stay tuned for more coming attractions from Client Presenters and visit the BbWorld program for more information.