This Thursday I had the impossible experience of having to be in two places at once, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. As it turns, due to a mechanical breakdown on my Great West Airlines plane, I didn’t get to Wyoming, and found myself over night in Denver. I still wasn’t in Pennsylvania, however, and I wanted to connect with a great group of coaches there.
Thanks to the perseverance of super-smart leader Joanne Romano, I found a way to be in both places. The time difference allowed me to join the Pennsylvania group on Skype from Denver when it was 6:45 AM in Denver but 8:45 in Pennsylvania.
What Joanne did was pose a few questions that the group had identified at the start of the session. Then people engaged in spirited dialogue at their tables. Joanne then involved me and a panel experts in the dialogue. You can read a summary of the conversation here.
What I realized (as I’ve always noticed when I’ve used some form of video chat) was that video really does allow you a chance to see A LOT MORE than a telephone call. Simply put: when you see people, you communicate a lot better.
For me, the session was a heck of a lot of fun, but it also suggested great potential for Skype or iChat to support coaching. If a teacher was to record her/himself coaching, and email the recording to a coach, they could use Skype for the coaching conversations. This would be one way that a coach could be in multiple schools, or multiple districts for that matter, and still use their time efficiently. I wonder if anyone has tried this out. If so, what worked, what didn’t work. There’s no doubt that technology like Flip Cameras, Skype, and iPhones are opening up many new ways that we can all work together to improve instruction. If you’ve had an experiences with technology and coaching, I’d love to hear what you learned, so please post a comment!