On July 6, 2009, we started the first week of workshops with teachers at Liwa Primary School in Cape Town, South Africa. We had spent the previous couple days learning as much as we could about this community. As a result of apartheid, many of teachers and learners lived in informal housing — shantys that were built with whatever materials they had on hand. Crime was high. Resources were few. Living conditions were tough. We were there to lead technology workshops for teachers, to try to help them effectively use technology resources to improve their teaching.
To say I was a little nervous was an understatement. Here we were, the rich white people, sweeping in to tell the poor black people how it should be done. How were we going to connect with these teachers? How would we build a rapport? How would we get them to understand that we were there to work WITH them, not FOR them? We didn’t have all of the answers, but we wanted to help them come up with their own solutions.
Zac volunteered to lead the first session. It was a tough crowd. They were quiet. They were skeptical. But within two minutes, he had won their hearts. He had them laughing and thinking. He connected with them. He broke the ice. And I knew then that everything was going to be fine.
I also knew that I had to find a way to get him here to talk to our teachers. Zac is not a technology guy who happens to also be a teacher. He’s a dynamic teacher who uses technology when it’s appropriate and effective. Last week he spoke to our teachers at a technology-focused inservice event. One of our teachers, Cindy Hubert, was kind enough to video Zac’s presentation with her flip camera. And while there are some occasional problems with the video, in general she did a great job.
The staff’s reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Here’s what they had to say in the evaluation surveys:
- Zac chase was the best in-service speaker that I can remember.
- He was a great speaker and well worth the time!
- He was a great speaker; he was motivating in addition to being an awesome start to the day!
- Zac did a great job holding the audience’s attention and making us think and laugh at the way we do things. My goal is to work harder at getting my kids more in tune with technology after hearing him address school issues and demonstrate its effect on kids through the videos.
- Excellent speaker and a great lead into the morning inservices…
- I wanted more!
- He was very inspiring and entertaining, but he did leave me a bit overwhelmed..
- Zac is extremely knowledgeable and inspirational. We must keep in the forefront his message of being lifelong learners and always striving to better use technology to prepare our students for the future.
- Zac Chase was brilliant! Teachers have to understand the power and advantages of technology. Zac did an outstanding job of conveying a very important message to educators.
- We need more days with presentators like Zac Chase!
- I would like to strongly encourage you to bring Zac Chase back to our district for other speaking events. He was incredibly inspiring and helpful to me as a professional. I look forward to following him on twitter, facebook, and his blog page.
- I thought he was one of the best presenters we have had in years!!!!!
- Zac Chase was excellent! I would have loved to have heard more. His talk contained the kind of forward thinking content necessary to get teachers thinking about how our learners have changed and will continue to change. His presentation inspired me to re-think how I am teaching a number of my units.
- Mr. Chase was the best keynote speaker that we have had. He was engaging, had a sense of humor and was a great start to our day. He made you think in his own way how far we have come with technology and how we can use it with our students to prepare them for their new world, which is much different than the one I grew up with. I was sorry that I had not signed up for his breakout session.
- This was the best waiver day! I enjoyed everything. The speaker was outstanding and inspirational.
- He knew how to suggest without accusing, and did not speak down to his audience.
- Zac was an outstanding keynote presenter.
- Zac’s message was relevant and timely. We ALL need to meet our students’ needs for understanding and negotiating their rapidly changing environment and can make a much stronger impact by doing so. Our educators need PLANNED TIME to develop these competencies.
- Great job. I found the presenter to be very informational, while also entertaining.
- I felt this presenter was by far the best part of the day. He was inspirational and got me excited about teaching and learning. I wish I had been able to spend more of my day listening and learning and interacting with him.
- I could have listened to Zac longer than the hour in the keynote timeframe.
- In all of my years of teaching, I have never heard a group of teachers so quiet and attentative for a speaker. So many times we are as a group not respectful in listening. Great message and he made you think.
- Well Done
- I loved the morning session. It was by far the best inservice day we’ve ever had. I learned so much about how to integrate more technology into the classroom. I wish it could have been a whole day activity. I would have loved to have sat in on more sessions. Please do more days like this. It was nice hearing teachers tell what works, not some outside person lecturing us on what we should do! There are some really great technology ideas out there that our teachers our using!!!!!!
- The speaker was great and the individual presentations were really effective.
- He was an engaging speaker.
- Outstanding! I was so glad to actually see a presentation that will help me and inspire me in my teaching. It was fun, informative, and meaningful. Thank you so much for giving us something to think about and incorporate into our own teaching. Also, your shoes were awesome.
- Loved that my peers taught us subjects and it wasn’t a professor with a powerpoint and graphs. Zac was great! Thank you for the technology resources!
- This was the first large group speaker that I wasn’t ready to leave the room after an hour of time. I enjoyed his presentation and felt that he was very motivating. I think this day could have been better if we would have had time to incorporate some of these technology ideas. Whether it be in the breakout sessions, or in the afternoon, time spent with the ideas would have been valuable.
- I really enjoyed Zac’s speech and perspective on the world. I was surprised at how engaged I was and was disappointed that I did not sign up for his break-out session.
- I think Zac was GREAT! I loved his message and he was incredibly motivating! Can we convince him to come teach in Brecksville? 🙂
- This was the best inservice I can remember. The speaker was excellent – good points made – loved the clicking textboo!
- He was great and a well needed change of pace!
- I really enjoyed the early morning presentation. It was entertaining and thought provoking.
- Outstanding presenter! The best we’ve had in my career here at BBHCSD!
- Wonderful and thought provoking!!
- Excellent! Very thought provoking and ‘fun’.
- I would have loved to hear him speak longer. I did not attend his breakout sessions since I did not who he was prior and had too many other options that I wanted to take.
- Zac is an amazing teacher. After 29 years as a teacher, I found myself feeling totally inadequate at the end of his presentation, because there are so many elements of technology that I don’t even know about.
- Good presenter. Inspiring. Better than a tutorial or presentation about this is what you have to do/should do/ought to accomplish.
- The morning was fantastic
- This was one of the best waiver days we have had in this district. I loved the keynote speaker and feel that what I learned I will use in my classroom. Thank you!!
- Excellent!! He is an incredible speaker. I wish he was my son’s teacher.