Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Off the beaten path: Leading PD

Well, it's been a while since I've had the time to post. Basketball, a new child, and teaching have really gotten in my way... :).  Now that things are settled down, I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to lead a Professional Development session at my school about Creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN).

One of my main goals for this PD session was not to use PowerPoint. I've been to too many PD's where we get a copy of a PowerPoint that's read to us by the leader. I wanted this session to be interactive and get the participants involved. My plan was to show the staff different tools I use in collaborating with people throughout the world. Each staff member had a laptop or netbook in our Media Center which made it nice to work in groups if someone had an issue. We got started and it went pretty well.

In cooperation with my administration team, I created a Ning for our staff to join and use as an online collaborative place. We're not ready yet to throw the site out to the masses, but we're getting started sharing and collaborating. I first showed the staff the Ning and we had everyone join the site and gave them time to play around and see the tools Ning has available to collaborate.

Then, our tech director showed a couple of tools, TipCam and quizlet . We then sent staff members back to their rooms to break and try any of the tools on their computers in their room.

As they came back, I had Milli Vanilli's Blame it on the rain. The purpose of showing this video was to remind them of the one hit wonder. The tools we were showing weren't going to be useful or helpful if we learned about them and then put them away. People need to participate for learning to happen.

After the music, I showed Google Reader. I also gave them Scott McLeod's sources on Reader. I gave them some time to play and also gave them some sites to add to their feed.

I saved the best for last. There was a reason for this too. I saved Twitter for the last part of the day. I did this for a couple of reasons. 1- Twitter won't allow numerous new accounts from one IP address. I wanted this to be fresh in their minds as they went home, hoping they'd create an account. 2- What I thought to be the most powerful tool I wanted to save for last.

You'll as why do I think Twitter is the most powerful, well...  Twitter allows educators to connect with so many educators and other resources from around the world. To demonstrate this to the staff, I asked my PLN to do a shout out with the #bcschool tag. We got numerous responses and many of the staff commented on how people from all over the US, Canada, and from across the pond in the UK would  say hello to our school.

Overall, it was a great day. I received many comments how staff liked being given time to work with the technology. We've had a great turn out and conversation on the Ning, and also have a few staff joining Twitter. We're taking baby steps, but our conversations are gaining depth and also increasing in frequency.

No comments:

Post a Comment