Prior to the 2008-2009 school year, the technology resource teacher (TRT) community knowledge-base was distributed across a variety of electronic resources, including Blackboard, server shares, district web pages, email, computer hard drives, and a performance database. The information remained in isolation, and the existing resources did not reflect the massive collection of knowledge and expertise within the TRT community.
After only 6 months as a TRT in the spring of 2005, I proposed the use of wiki technology to collect and consolidate our diverse resources. This proposal evolved into The Grove, our TRT community knowledge-base. Even though I consider The Grove to be my personal best leadership example, this project management experience remains an incredible opportunity to recognize my limitations as a leader and still encourages me to become more visible, flexible, and supportive to my colleagues.
It wasn't enough just to be inspired by an idea. Timing and audience can sometimes mean everything. My TRT supervisor singularly declined my request and suggested the use of another technology. A broader audience presented itself in the fall of 2007 when I was elected to the TRT advisory committee and was able to present my idea once again. The advisory committee, composed of both elementary and secondary TRTs, staff development trainers, the instructional technology supervisor, the director of instructional services, and the TRT supervisor, readily accepted the use of a wiki and suggested necessary features. I was declared the project manager and began the task of choosing a cost effective product meeting the needs of the community as established by advisory.
After extensive research, I suggested a first open-source product, which was ultimately rejected by the TRT supervisor for its high cost of support and hardware requirements. I naively assumed I could commandeer an old server and use my limited knowledge of the linux operating systems to install and support this adventure. My passion and commitment were applauded, but I was reminded my TRT position was the first priority and we had no staff experienced in the linux operating systems. I returned to my research and found the open-source Mindtouch Deki Wiki product. Although the product was community supported and essentially free to install, the advisory committee agreed it would be necessary to subscribe to their administrative support and hosting package.
Once the wiki vendor and product were selected I dove into the project management role and began planning the roll out to the TRT community. I began to coordinate the efforts of 3 other TRTs designing the wiki's structure, eventual roll-out goals and milestones, and the staff development plan. With the assistance of the larger committee our small group finalized the plan, and I developed a training package, presenting The Grove to the larger community in late spring of 2008. I then delivered formal training sessions...