Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Chuck Merritt

Chuck Merritt is a Technology Learning Coordinator and Digital High School Program Director in Palo Alto, California. He has been immersing himself in technology for the past six years since returning to the San Francisco Bay Area from five years of living and working in Spain. His primary objective with technology at Palo Alto High School is to encourage colleagues to integrate technology into their curricula in ways that benefit student learning.

Chuck's Perspective

The State of Texas introduced me to TAPPED IN. Austin, Texas was the site of the 1997 TelEd conference sponsored by ISTE.

Among the many interesting and useful presentations that I attended was one by Mark Schlager. As Mark described the concept of the "virtual conference center" I became enthused by the possibilities for staff development with a national and international perspective. I was myself just launching a Keypals project that has blossomed this year, and I saw TAPPED IN as a place that could be a help in finding e-mail exchange partners and others interested in this project.

Indeed, my Keypals Project at Paly (Palo Alto High) has used TAPPED IN as a resource for recruiting new Keypals participants, as a "venue" for a Keypals presentation at TelEd in Canada and, most recently, as a meeting place for my students and their Keypals in France. They logged in - from school or from home - at 7 a.m. to talk with kids in College Lorrez le Bocage, France

It was also my privilege last winter to host a TAPPED IN Foreign Language discussion group. I hope to restart this group with guest speakers in the fall. This ongoing group will allow foreign language teachers to interact with their colleagues across the country and around the world.

Since my first experiences with TAPPED IN, I have seen even more reasons to stay involved and to encourage others to join. My responsibilities in Palo Alto USD have led me to speak with local technology leaders who have little "free" time, but a lot to say to each other. Collaboration is the essence of TAPPED IN: After School Online discussions, ongoing discussion groups, inter-district projects, and of course the many wonderful chance encounters one may have with others members.

My hope is that TAPPED IN will continue to grow and expand as an important staff development resource. With every visit to this "virtual conference center" I come away with new ideas for how to use it to benefit my students, my colleagues and myself. I'm sure I'm not alone in the expectation that TAPPED IN will be an effective force in teacher development and educational reform.