Re-visiting the PD 2009 Meme

Early in the summer I was tagged for the Professional Development Meme 2009.  This meme was started by Clif Mims.  Normally I’m not crazy about memes–they remind me too much of chain letters–but I felt that this one was worth my time 🙂  For the meme I wrote a post about three goals I would like to accomplish over the summer.  Below I’ll list the goals and how I did.

  • Read ‘Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns‘. Not only did I read the book, I blogged my reflections on it here.
  • Learn more about teaching using Moodle. I chose this as a goal because my district was moving over to using Moodle as our learning management system (LMS).  Prior to that we offered on-line courses through Open School BC and their WebCT system.  Regrettably, I did not spend much time on this particular goal.  I was very familiar with Moodle from the perspective of a student and as a facilitator (thank you KnowSchools!) and I had taken an introductory course on Moodle in June.  I guess I’m just saying that it’s not like I was totally unprepared for the change over to Moodle.  I hope to write more on the change over to Moodle in a little while.
  • Prepare for the two professional development sessions I will be facilitating at the end of the summer. I spent A LOT of time on this one.  In fact I probably spent too much time on it.  I’m guessing I put at least 10 hours of preparation for each session; the sessions were around 3.5 hours each.  In the end I enjoyed doing the sessions, but found that it is really difficult to design a session for all levels of technical ability.  I plan on writing more about these sessions, but at this point I’ll just leave you with the link to the website I created to support the course.  My goal was to provide participants with the information so that they could progress through the different topics at their own pace.

So, I feel good about how I did on two of the three goals and overall I’m pretty pleased with the PD part of my summer.  Now excuse me while I go and spend a bit more time learning to Moodle…

Making PD Sticky

I’ve been thinking a lot about professional development (PD) and technology integration the last little while.

Questions by Oberazzi

My Questions:

  • How do you make PD sticky?  We’ve all gone to a conference or PD day, learned some wonderful (or not) things, then gone back to our classrooms never to revisit those ideas again.  How to make them sticky? 
  • How do you encourage teachers to start their own Professional Learning Networks (PLN) and provide them with the skills to be successful? 
  • How do you support the sharing of ideas and resources within your local area?  I’ve been very lucky to connect with wonderful educators from around the English speaking world, but know very little about the teachers in my own small school district.
  • How do you truly integrate technology and support your teachers while doing so?

Over at Charlie Roy’s blog I left this comment on technology integration:

The training element of introducing new technology is always a challenge. The approach that you took this year sounds like a good start. You definitely have to meet people where they are at. In my dream school the director of technology would be a consultant. S/he would meet with teachers one on one; the individual teachers would outline what their objectives with a particular unit or project are and the director of tech would come up with a variety of ways to integrate technology. Doing a poetry unit? Let me suggest using Wordles, or Voice Threads, or… and here’s how to proceed.

I think that you also have to find the people in your school or district who are really into integrating technology into their teaching and/or professional learning and support them like crazy.  You’re going to see great things from them and the goal is that they will inspire others.  I’m not sure that converting people overtly is going to work, but diffusion just might do it.

What do you think?  Do you have answers to my questions above?  I’m happy for some push back and sharing of ideas.  Cheers!

The Power of Observation

One of the best things about my teaching practicum, oh those many years ago, was the chance to sit in and observe other teachers in their classrooms.  Everyone has a different teaching style and there is always something to take away and make your own.  Since my practicum days I have taken the opportunity a few times to sit in on colleagues’ classes, but never as often as I would have liked.

student teacher by peiqianlong
Attribution License

Blogs, Twitter, and social networks are making it easier to network with and learn from other educators, but for the most part they don’t allow for actual observation.  Lately, however, I’ve been able to get in some virtual classroom observations and it’s been great!  This past year I’ve taken a number of week long on-line professional development classes through KnowSchools.  In addition, I’ve been training to be an assistant facilitator for KnowSchools which has allowed me an inside peek as to how the different facilitators organize and run their week long classes.  The classes are done using Moodle and it has been fascinating to see how the different facilitators make use of the different features in Moodle.  So I’m learning about some great ways to improve my teaching practice and I’m getting to observe talented educators and how they teach.

I’ve also participated in some virtual PD offered in Elluminate Live from a variety of sources; today I popped in (briefly) to Classroom 2.0’s weekly show.  I use Elluminate Live with my distributed learning students so whenever I’m in a session that someone else is moderating I’m looking for good ideas that I can steal!  It’s also good to experience an Elluminate Live session as a participant.  It reminds me that it is boring just to sit and listen to the moderator; I need to give my students an active way to participate and discuss ideas and I need to engage them with good visuals.

Do you take the opportunity to observe your colleagues as they teach?  If so, how do you make time to do this?  Do you prefer live and in person, or virtual observations?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂