Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Jeff Cooper
Jeff started his career in education in 1990, teaching English at Jefferson High School in Daly City, CA. His teaching experience has been almost exclusively at inner city schools, including four years at Richmond High School (of Coach Carter fame). It was at RHS in 1997 where, armed with one 386 computer with a shell connection to the Net, Jeff helped his students become published through the Newsday project and listserv. RHS students had more articles published than any of the other 27 schools involved in the project. This result greatly excited the students, who became involved with a number of other collaborative Internet projects. These experiences led Jeff to believe that the Internet could be a tremendous motivating tool, helping validate students with their work, and he facilitated a number of other collaborative projects. Jeff went on to become a technology leader at RHS, and later a computer resource teacher which led to his last position as Education Technology Specialist for the College of Education at Pacific University in Oregon. Jeff may be reached through his homepage.
I was one of the first members of the original Tapped In in 1997. At the time, I would connect to a multitude of educational moos through my 386 using a telnet client named "tinyfugue" which allowed me to multitask even though the computer didn't have windows. Although the connection was text only, I was able to accomplish quite a bit. As time went on, I began helping other users learn how to navigate, volunteering on Helpdesk as Tapped In created one of the first web interfaces for a MUVE (Multi-User Virtual Environment). I saw then, and believe now, in the collaborative possibilities of Tapped In as a way for educators to support each other world-wide, far beyond the typical one-day professional development meetings.
In have volunteered on Helpdesk since Tapped In began and host a weekly "Advanced Tips and Tricks" tour where I personalize support for members. If you have received my support, please take a minute to comment on it in the featured discussion thread in TI's Reception, and please leave comments for other helpdesk members as well. I truly enjoy helping K-12 educators especially to set up virtual classrooms for their students and facilitate collaboration between classes. In addition to volunteering on Helpdesk, I facilitate a number of groups including Math Resources, Science Resources, Collaboration Community, and NECC 2006, and have written several professional development articles regarding Tapped In. If you check my profile in Tapped In, there are also links to past tours as well as quickcut notes on how to use Tapped In more efficiently.
I set up my second grade daughter's class to use TI this year, using the TI K-12 Student Campus classroom to surf the web (since the machines in her class reset every day, no "favorites" could be added, this was the easiest way to help them surf), research the solar system, and keypal with a class back East. This last project was most rewarding since a number of students who rarely wrote at all really took off when writing to their new virtual friends.
Along with David Weksler, I will present a workshop at NECC 2006 regarding using Tapped In for professional development and online classroom management. The workshop will be held on July 5th from 8 to 11am PDT, but I will be encouraging workshop participants to log in to TI before, during and after the workshop. After all, staff development and support doesn't really happen and sustain in just a couple of hours, does it?