Author: Guest Author
Source: Getting Smart
- First we grouped teachers by department to try to find the most common ground. We wanted each group to include only one department but the time allotted and the availability of substitutes for the staff would only allow us to create 3 total groups which meant two departments per group.
- To complete the day of professional development in the time we had available we would rotate groups in two hour intervals.
- Each group was emailed separately. This was done to create a specific agenda for each group.
- In the email the teachers were asked what they felt they needed for their classrooms. I also gave them a couple of suggestions to get them started being sure that everyone knew they were only suggestions. We wanted their professional development to be completely about their needs.
- We received a few responses from each group which was perfect. Now I had some “needs” to work on.
- One of the goals I had for creating the agenda was to use digital tools from the start. I wanted to be able to model the use of these tools and maximize the time we had with each group.
- From the feedback in the emails I decided on creating an infographic and making it interactive by linking the items on the agenda to videos, websites, and other digital tools.
- To customize the professional development for each group I needed to create 3 different infographics and link each one with tools specific to that group.
- The agendas would be sent out a few days before the workshop so that everyone would know what to expect, could have questions ready, and have all accounts created.
- They would have the opportunity to take a look at what they would be learning in their workshop by simply clicking on the links in the agenda.
- I have to say here that only one person admitted he did not have his accounts created. He quickly sat down and created them before we were ready to start!
- I chose Piktochart for creating the agenda infographic. To me it is easy and quick to learn and allows you to create quality work.
- When it was time to begin the workshop, teachers were asked to pull up their agenda. So everyone was prepared with active links to each item on the agenda.
- We spent a few minutes sharing ideas and brainstorming how the agenda (an infographic) could be used in different ways in individual classrooms.
- If you click on the agenda you will see there are many interactive links but don’t panic! Most of these were “take a ways” to explore on their own. We only focused on the three at the bottom. I wanted it to be rich with other digital tools for the teachers who might want a little more information or to reference later on.
- ThingLink is a great free tool to make any image interactive. It is also extremely easy to learn so you can use it successfully right away which is an important factor in the beginning stages of integrating technology in the classroom.
- Once the image is linked the participants just had to mouse over the image to uncover other resources and web 2.0 tools.
- The following agenda was created with these two tools. (See Resources below for Group 2 and 3 Agendas)
- The workshop had 3 main content areas. The agenda for Group1 included Socrative, Sophia, and Piktochart.
- First I walked everyone through Piktochart so they would be familiar with the process.
- Next participants began playing around with the different tools and creating their own infographics with me as the guide on the side.
- Time was allowed for questions and thoughts before moving on to the next area.
- Socrative was an immediate hit with its ease of use. Participants liked that you could interact immediately from any mobile device by simply entering the teacher’s class number (generated by Socrative) that was displayed on the Smart Board.
- Sophia did not get the attention it deserved. Only a brief discussion due to time but that’s okay. We know this happens hence the next step!
- I know this goes without saying but plan to monitor and adjust to the needs of each group. You know it will happen! So if you plan it’s not as horrible.
- There’s always a chance you will have “technical difficulties” or just run out of time. We had both!
- We had difficulties with our Wi-Fi. We don’t usually but of course we did on this day! Use it like you would in the classroom as another teaching moment! We talked about how this is always a possibility when using technology. I also encouraged our teachers to not be afraid to learn from our students. I really love learning from our high school students. When they can help you, they become immediately engaged and interested in what is going on.
- Continuing in our digital path we didn’t want to use a paper survey. Instead we used a quick exit ticket type survey that had been created ahead of time at Socrative.com.
- Teachers were able to take part in the survey while we were modeling the uses of Socrative. If you’ve never tried Socrative you will want to take a look. It could have multiple uses in any classroom.
- By keeping the survey short and meaning full you will get the most relevant feedback to use in follow-up.
- How important is follow-up in successful professional development? It’s highly important! It seems to complete the circle. It is positive, considerate, and shows value to all involved.
- I used the information from the exit surveys, input from the administration, and of course feedback from our teachers to begin the follow-up process.
- One example of a follow-up: I spent the day in a history classroom introducing the same digital tools we had worked with in the professional development but this time it was a student version from the point of using these tools in projects. It was great! I introduced the digital tools with some fun activities first. Once they had the basics down and a little fun, we begin their first project while I was there an available to help answer questions.
- The classroom teacher knew everyone was on the same page. He would not have to spend additional time explaining individually. He was confident his students were ready to collaborate and continue working on their projects in the future.
- Follow-up can look differently for each teacher or classroom. I try to do my part by listening, supporting, and being available to complete the professional development circle with timely, purposeful follow-up.
|Getting Smart: Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and founder of GettingSmart.com. Tom is also CEO of Open Education Solutions and a partner in Learn Capital, a venture capital firm investing in learning content, platforms, and services with the goal of transforming educational engagement, access, and effectiveness. Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he implemented $3.5 billion in scholarship and grant programs. Getting Smart™ is a community passionate about innovations in learning.|