2015 Winner - Bob Sprankle
It was with great honor that Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes could celebrate their colleague and friend, Bob Sprankle, with the John Lunt Award at the 2015 ACTEM conference.
Since Bob was unable to make it to the award ceremony, his wife Jody and daughter Zoe filled in and really wowed the crowd with their poise and stories that Bob had blogged over several years about his Room 208, third and fourth grade podcasters who came back and met with him prior to their graduation.
Bob’s was a leader in using technology for student centered learning. His dedication to authentic learning, preparing students for the future, and skills as a storyteller are all part of the reasons he was named for the John Lunt Award.
Details of Bob Sprankle's work can be found at bobsprankle.com or you can google him and in 43 seconds- faster than a speeding bullet 101,000 hits will be displayed.
Bob Sprankle was a pioneer in the world of education technology. Early on, he understood that student voice and technology were a powerful mix for learning. He was passionate about how technology positively impacts students and learning. His superpower is Student Scholars!
Bob always thought the lines between online and face to face conversations acan be blurred because meaningful conversation can take place miles apart or face to face. Kern Kelly's favorite memory of Bob was when Vicki Davis was speaking at the ACTEM conference one year. Bob was driving with her to the conference that morning and at one point he reached over to turn up the volume to hear her better, suddenly realizing she was actually speaking in the back seat!
In 2005 Bob was one of ACTEM educators of the year. He used his award to purchase audio equipment for podcasting for this classroom. His students were writing newsletters at the time and Bob wondered if he could make an audio version of those newsletters. Bob saw the opportunity that technology could bring to his students to leverage their learning. He said that, “The students just saw that this was part of their work. They had already found purpose to everything they were doing. They had listeners and this was part of learning-people engage with you and carry on the conversation.”
Faster than a speeding nanosecond, the scholars of Room 208 sent breaking news over the airwaves through podcasts and into homes and classrooms around the world. These third and fourth graders went from being consumers to producers in lightspeed fashion. Technology helped Bob amplify their voices from Wells, Maine to a global audience - something that had never been done before. These students went from being consumers of content to producers of multimedia.
Bob’s teaching style supported putting his students in charge of their learning. He believed that students are superheros perfectly capable of creating, editing and producing. He viewed them as authentic artists and authors whose work is to be valued and shared to a wide audience. These Student Superhero Scholars blogged poetry and artwork in a safe space created by Bob. He instituted protocols that are still in use in many classrooms around the world today and oh yes, this was all BEFORE GOOGLE.
End Note: Shortly after the ACTEM 2015 conference we heard the sad news of the passing of Bob Sprankle on Dec. 8, 2015. Bob struggled for many years with a serious health issue that ultimately forced him to retire from the classroom that he loved. Bob will be sadly missed but his impact on the lives of his students and educators in Maine will endure.