Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Leo LaBarge

Leo LaBarge is a 6, 7, and 8th grade reading, language arts, and religion teacher at Our Lady Queen of Peace School, Hewitt, N.J. Leo is also a jazz drummer and you can hear that driving beat in his passion for education as he works with his students.

Leo's Perspective

I teach Reading, Religion, and Language Arts in a small Catholic school in northwestern New Jersey. In 2003, I was referred to Tapped In by my college professor. I went on and registered. The help desk volunteers were extremely friendly and, well, helpful. BjB and JeffC helped me set up my office and get pointed in the right direction. I use my office to hold files, and I use the chat and calendar features to meet and talk with educators from around the world. The K-12 student activities campus attracted my attention and I joined the K-12 group. After reading some of the posts, and participating in the K-12 Students in TI2 group, I got very excited about the potential for student use. I had been looking for a secure online classroom facility to use for hanging notes, rubrics, and assignments. TI was that and much more. My seventh and eighth graders just went on TI this week. We are using the room as a place to transfer our school newspaper and magazine articles for editing, discuss class projects, and design activities. Already they have spontaneously hung poems for editing and notes for discussing newspaper topics. I like the fact that the students choose how active they are on the TI site. I am thinking about using the site to co-create lessons with the students.

Here are some unscripted and unprovoked student comments:

Mr. LaBarge,
TappedIn is really cool. I think it was a really good idea... -Erin

Mr. LaBarge- good choice in websites I like it it's easy to get around ~Meg

hi - this site is pretty cool Mr.L I really like it. DaveM

Hey this thing is so so so cool....... even though I really don't know how to work it.

I've also been using TI with a student who had to miss two weeks of school. We are staying in contact through e-mails and TI. One of the lessons I'm beginning to work on is how to allow the students to discover new ways to use the room. This can (hopefully) lead us into discussions of efficiency, code or media switching (as simple as paper to cyber), and investigations into language construction and word processing. Tapped In has given me views and information I never would have found anywhere else. It is a unique and valuable resource.