Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Marianne Handler

Marianne Handler is a professor in the Technology in Education Program at National-Louis University. She has been teaching in that program as a full-time faculty member since 1989. Prior to that she was an adjunct in the program while filling her role as Library-Learning Center Director in the Glencoe, Illinois public schools. She was a member of the Glencoe School faculty for twenty-two years before becoming a full-time teacher educator.

She has co-authored two editions of Multimedia as a Student Tool: A Guide for Teachers and co-edited The Many Faces of School-University Collaboration: Characteristics of Successful Partnerships.

Marianne's Perspective

The power of online real-time communications became clear to me as early as 1979 while working with third graders. After students read a book by the author we would meet online they planned the questions they hoped to ask. Then online they would ask the questions and 'hear the author's voice' in a new way. What an amazing experience that was for all of us! The impact on those early days stayed with me as my work with students and their teachers continued.

I began using Tapped In (the first version) during our program's first course for teachers on how to integrate this new tool - the Internet - was developed. We used it to bring in experts and new voices and to allow teachers, who might not have been able to join us, become a part of our class. We had two teachers from Alaska (during the 90s) who joined us in the summer on campus but who participated in the telecommunications class by joining us through TappedIn, and an LCD projector. It was an eye-opening experience for the F2F class and helped these folks from far away become a part of our learning community.

With the new TappedIn Environment an even more powerful tool has become a part of the class environment. Discussions FWF meeting are held in a Group area, links are added to support class activities, weekly notices are posted by the teacher and assignments can be turned in through the same interface Working groups meet on various occasions in my office and members make their own groups as their Critical Friends work has developed. ASO sessions provide students opportunity to create a broader understanding of both professional growth and the concept of being a life long learner. More and more often now we read about 'Schools without Walls'. Certainly what we do hear in the muve (multi-user virtual environment) supports that picture.

More recently I have joined Jan Naher-Snowden in co-leading ASO groups for teacher-educators and pre-service teachers. This seems to me an appropriate next step as I join still another community of learners and help others to join us in making this medium the best tool possible for the students, adults and children, with whom we work.