Currently, in Michigan, we are loosing funding for schools. There is a fear that schools simply can't afford to send teachers to meetings and if they can it is only one or two educators at most. So what do we do? Even if we have the money to get us to conferences there are really only a few opportunities every year. Before we get to the main point of this post I need to describe another group of dedicated educators I belong to.
I'm a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Physics Teachers (DMAPT). As near as we can figure, this 2007 marks the 50th year the DMAPT has been meeting. Some of our current members go back nearly to the beginning of the organization. They have long since retired, of course, but continue to attend meetings because they have a passion for teaching and they've made many life long friends through the organization. We try to meet every month during the school year, although we never quite make it that often. Meetings are held in the evening during the week. Experience has shown this to be the most popular time. Typically we are hosted by one of our members and meet at their school. Often we will be invited to meet at one of the local colleges. Last year we had one meeting at Wayne State and another at the University of Michigan.
Typical meeting agenda:
- Eat pizza (every one tosses in $5 or so and the host picks it up)
- Chit chat with like minded educators while eating dinner
- Do a quick round of introductions
- Cover any New/Old Business
- Then we have Presentations - Members volunteer to get up and share lessons/demos/labs they find useful. Occasionally a member will share an idea they had and seek additional input on how to execute it effectively. The presentations are often, but not always, grouped around a particular theme.
All in all, our meetings are very informal and a lot of fun. I always come away having learned a lot. Our dues are a very affordable $5/year and the only meeting fees we have are used to cover our dinner (if you come in after dinner or choose not to eat, the meeting is free). The dues are used to cover any dinner expenses that go beyond the typical $5/head and very occasionally pay a speaker. All in all it has proved to be a very successful model for a grass roots educator association.
So, what's the point of all this? I've been wondering if there might be any interest in forming this sort of organization around technology integration. Originally I'd thought of proposing it as a MACUL SIG, but then I changed my mind. We could look at being MACUL and/or ISTE affiliates, but by being independent, the only cost to join would be our own membership dues.
Anyway, I've rambled long enough. I think you should be able to get the idea of what I'm talking about. If anyone is interested in forming such a group (or a similar one following a different model) please email me, comment on this blog, or start a forum discussion. Or I suppose you could do all the work of forming a group and send me an invite to your first meeting ;)
Cross posted to maculspace.ning.com