As mentioned in several previous posts, leaning to code kml was my gateway into programming. While I admit my code often looks like a three-year old’s coloring book, the amount of growth and learning over the past five years has been such an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Initially geteach.com was designed and created to allow students to more efficiently explore one, or two, spatial distributions (perspectives) of their world. There were many other factors that went through my mind before creating geteach.com from wanting a hobby that helped me relax and think, to the annoyance of “education/technology” companies charging so much money for something two people and several pots of coffee could create.  I am so pleased that educators around the world can use geteach.com, along with other projects, in their classroom.

The one thought that never crossed my mind when creating these geo-tools was the amount of teacher cred I receive from students. My first experience with this teacher cred was five years ago while teaching summer school. During this summer session, I came across many reluctant learners, but one student, in particular, was classic John Bender from Breakfast Club.  About four days into summer school I was demonstrating geteach.com and “John” blurted out, “you created this?” John was, in business management terms, a first follower. From that point on this room of reluctant learners pivoted into “just enough” learners.

Every year since the creation of geteach.com I have had these moments in the classroom.  I never know when this moment is going to happen, but each time I get the same half proud half embarrassed feeling. This year I did not tell the students I am the creator of geteach.com.  In one class, a student clicked the YouTube icon on the page and figured out I was the creator. Then followed an awesome teachable moment of contagious diffusion from that student’s group in the back-right corner sharing the information until it reached the front left group. Another class figured out it was me when they looked at the page source of the page and found my name somewhere in the code. That group also found one of the easter eggs in the JavaScript which x10’d my teacher cred. (Hint… think Konomi’s Contra)

For the past week and half, I might have been viewed by many as an absent-minded teacher who can’t take roll, loved to talk about geography as a perspective that transfers across disciplines, and an idealist of lifelong learning.  Once students figure out I learned to code from spatial thinking these qualities, minus the taking roll part, are no longer just words, but true beliefs and core to my teaching and learning philosophy. Learning to code and developing the language of technology though a spatial lens has given me a window of teacher cred to build those needed relationships to last at least the next 180 days, but hopefully beyond.

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