Three students from McKee (From L-R): Steven Grell, Mohamed Ibrahim, Hiran Gnanapragasam; and their CISCO teacher, Anthony Pigis, did an end of year presentation at Petrides as part of the culminating activity from the PEARLS grant, Friday, June 12, 2009. Here they are moments before they go on:
The three young gentlemen showcased the interactive blog, CISCO Made Easy: ciscoeasy.blogspot.com. The students worked on the blog after school and in the evenings. Their goal was to provide a useful tutoring service for sophomores about the elements needed to succeed in CISCO during their first year of study. The pupils used Web 2.0 tools such as Jing and added Packet Tracer, which is a network simulator program. The students spoke for more than 30 minutes, at times fielding questions from a range of teachers and technical coordinators from the PEARLS Grant initiative.
What was so cool was the level of ownership poise and knowledge about the workings of creating the interactive blog. By the way, the students were only supposed to present for 15 minutes but there was an extensive question and answer period. The coordinators specifically wanted to know how "Mr. Pigis felt ceding control to the students. To quote Mr. Pigis, it was not about control, it was about student buy in. His words of wisdom, it takes patience, and planning. He already has some exciting ideas for Fall 2009 so that we as a school are able to proliferate the practice of having students helping students by empowering them to make a digital blueprint via using Web 2.0 tools such as a Jing, wikispace, webcast, podcast, blog or any combination of the above.
I am excited by the possibilities of students helping students to understand the elements of a range of concepts whether it is a trade shop: construction, auto mechanics, cosmetology and epidemiology; or technical shop: drafting, AUTOCAD, CISCO, or electrical installation. The key for me as an instructional leader is to model, and show through my actions that one has to embrace the software tools and allow students amaze us with their demonstration of understanding and mastering the content. It is the continual, fascinating challenge, and opportunity for growth.