Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Jewel Reuter
Jewel Reuter is currently a teacher of Biology and Environmental Science at the Louisiana
Virtual School and is a professional development consultant for the Archdioceses of New
Orleans. Jewel is also pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at LSU. Her
studies focus on the use of animations with past, present and future visual fields in
the study of photosynthesis and respiration.
I began in TAPPED IN when I was learning to mentor biology teachers on how to integrate
the Internet into their biology lessons. I met with other educators for a semester on
TAPPED IN to devise effective methods of mentoring the newcomers to the Internet. We
shared our success and failures and made plans for better ways of mentoring. I fell
in love with TAPPED IN. I learned about the philosophy of the TAPPED IN community.
I learned how to evoke emotion and to give my sessions the feeling that we were all
in the presence of each other. I learned to CHEER and to CLAP for the success of others.
I learned how to hold up COW and PIG signs to direct the session.
As I learned more about TAPPED IN, I got an office and a recorder to have my students
meet me for study sessions. A few of my students would meet me and we would discuss
biology concepts such as fungus reproduction, immunity, photosynthesis and respiration.
I would e-mail the transcript to all the students, and I made copies of it for the next
day's class. The students really liked reading and studying the transcripts. They liked
the dialogue and that they knew the characters of the session. The sessions were about
complex and abstract biology concepts in the format of an online conversation. We
continued to meet weekly in my office and the sessions and the transcripts were a big
hit with all the students. They welcomed the transcripts as notes in the dialogue form.
My students began to do better on quizzes and tests. I began to notice the nature of
the discussions that we were having in the sessions. The students that attended the
session had questions for me and I had questions for them. We did not always get
directly to the answer. We had to ask multiple questions and we progressed to the
answer. As I read the transcripts I could see that I was showing them how to do inquiry
thinking. They could see the steps I took to answer the question and I revealed my
thought process. Since we were typing, the pace slowed down enough that they had more
"wait time" before we answered questions. Oral discussions in class did not reveal the
methods of inquiry and the TAPPED IN Sessions helped many become better inquiry thinkers.
I found their free response answers increased in quality very much and that their inquiry
I also began to use TAPPED IN with my professional development classes. I teach the
teachers how to use TAPPED IN during the workshop and we practice together before they
are faced with the Tapestry interface alone. I would have office hours and we would
meet to discuss workshop lessons implementation. The most significant series of
professional development TAPPED IN Sessions that I hosted was during the 2001-2002
school year. I worked with Dr. Donald Cronkite of Hope College in Holland, Michigan
on a two week National Science Foundation Workshop that brought teachers from across
the country to Hope College for a Water Quality Inquiry Institute. We worked with the
teachers for 2 weeks on water quality and inquiry teaching methods and we learned
TAPPED IN during the institute. We decided that we would meet every Wednesday the
first semester and once a month the second semester. I would e-mail the agenda before
the meeting and the transcript after the meeting. We discussed the progress of the
inquiry activities that were developed at the institute. We extended the institute an
entire school year as a result of TAPPED IN. During the second semester each inquiry
group hosted one of the TAPPED IN meetings and we discussed the specific inquiry project
in detail. TAPPED IN helped to make the workshop a great success by providing a meeting
place to support the implementation of the workshop methods.
Over the last five years I have trained about 400 teachers in how to use TAPPED IN.
Presently, I am teaching professional development courses for the teachers of the LA
Virtual School via Blackboard infrastructure. We have teachers from across the state
Blackboard has a Virtual Chat feature that allows many of the TAPPED IN features. We
use that feature some, but we meet in my office at TAPPED IN. It becomes very obvious
the community aspects that exist at TAPPED IN that are missing in Blackboard Virtual
Chat. We realize the importance of the community and the opportunities that exit at
TAPPED IN. It becomes very obvious that TAPPED IN is so much more that a "chat site".
I am proud to be a member of TAPPED IN and appreciate getting to know so many wonderful