About Jeff Whipple
I started teaching a few short years ago after a variety of careers in engineering (including a first degree!), communications, media, public lands management an numerous other interests. While I dabbled in these other areas, I guess I always knew I wanted to teach. After all, it was in my blood. Some of my fondest childhood memories were spent following my father around the school at which he taught. I later attended the same school, and even had my dad as a homeroom teacher in Grade 7!
My ideas about education were pretty traditional when I first returned to university six years ago to add a few more letters after my name. My understandings were those I had experienced as a student. Lots of rows, blackboards, teachers pouring knowledge into the vessels. Even though all my university courses, there was little (no?) mention of the revolution that was on the horizon. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED going back to school, the world of academia, and all that stuff and I am dearly attached to my university, but for whatever reason – denial, inflexibility, lack of vision or just plain ignorance – the program there prepared me for little of what was to come.
My first job changed all that – and forced me to think outside the box. I was offered a job at a small, rural school just west of the city in which I live. I quickly learned that small and rural did no mean traditional by any means. I was quickly thrust ino a multiage, team-teaching learning environment (63 students, Grade 6-8, 3 teachers, ONE BIG ROOM) that shattered all of what I understood. I was forced to readjust, rethink and relearn all that I had previously known. I was originally kind of lost, but in retrospect, this first exposure to alternatives to the traditional educational model (although I truly did enjoy a course entitled “Anthropology of Literature an Learning which was quite expanding) was the best thing that could have happened to me as I started my career.
Well…my tenure there was short-lived. At the beginning of the next year I was moved to the school I now call home (Nashwaaksis Middle School). My first impressions – waaaaaaaay to large (800+ students) and institutional (I was teaching five Grade 8 science classes a day!). BUT…the saving grace was that this was THE technology school in our province and, expressing an interest in technology, I was quickly embraced by my mentor (Gary Gallant). In retrospect, I had been blessed again.
In my “spare time” I have a passion about the sport of fastpitch softball. After having been fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel the globe and represent Canada as an ISF umpire, I am now the National Deputy Umpire-in-Chief for Softball Canada. This photo was taken at the 2005 ISC Men’s World Championships in Eau Claire, WI.
The last few years have been a journey…and in this blog I hope to capture some of the future journey as our school moves to create a new vision as the largest 1:1 laptop school in Canada. This will not be about the technology…although I will reference it…it is about a “new story” – as David Warlick has labeled it – in education.
Now, in addition to my current job, I am also passionate and available to speak and lead workshops on how to leverage technology to create a new narrative of learning.
There is a revolution taking place, and our students are the revolutionaries. We can either join them in a velvet transition, or be run over by the trucks.
I enjoyed reading some of your blogs and your “history”. The last sentence reminds me of something I was told in a course I took on using technology in the classroom – The students of today are the natives with respect to technology and we are the immigrants!