Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Part III - Online PD for New Teachers
The next topic that I considered very important for new teachers after seeing SurveyMonkey, a little delicious, and wikis was online professional development. Since I only had one two and a half hour session per group of teachers to introduce technology in education, I thought it prudent to share the possibilities of free online professional development.
In this section of the class, I chose the K12 Online Conference for its variety of topics, the Educon 2.0 session to show how this training is happening in an ongoing way, and the Classroom 2.0 ning.
I explained to the teachers that when I was in the alternate route program last year, I saw the K12 Online Conference in March. I thought I was too late and was determined to “attend” next year. I don’t know why it didn’t strike me that all the content was archived.
I had them go from the delicious account to the personal_learning category of tags and select the K12 Online Conference 2007 link. From the main page, we went to the Schedule.
In the wiki section of class, one task had the teachers generate a list of ideas for using a cell phone in class. It seems like such an unlikely piece of technology. From the schedule, I had them click on the link for Liz Kolb’s “Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools”. They read through the description. I told them that before listening to Liz’s session, I couldn’t imagine why I would use a cell phone in class. This session from the K12 Online Conference showed me possibilities. I still may not use a cell phone in class, but there are clear uses for it as a tool.
I also pointed out Silvia Tolisano's "Travel Through Space and Time" and Brian Crosby's "Obstacles to Opportunities" as interesting presentations. Listening to Silvia discuss how her students have been following a teacher's world travels and Brian discuss how a house bound student attended class just opened my mind to how different the world can be from the world I grew up in.
At this point, I gave them five minutes to poke around the web site and read descriptions. A couple of teachers started up audio files from different sessions. One teacher noticed the references to Twitter during the Thursday class. I provided him with a little demo at the end of the night.
From there, I spoke about Educon 2.0. I gave the teachers a little background on the idea of teachers around the country and Canada converging on Chris Lehman’s Science Leadership Academy to have open discussions about education and technology. I explained that I would have liked to have gone to the conference. Philadelphia is a reasonable drive from my home. It happened to be the start of Catholic Schools Week, which includes the staff attending Mass and an open house. I was able to virtually attend a few sessions.
I wanted them to know that there is a fair amount of this type of training going on. We went to the Educon 2.0 wiki and I demonstrated how to get to the agenda. From the agenda, I clicked on Educon Channel One. I pointed out the UStream TV window and the chat window to the right of the TV. If a person has never attended this type of event, it’s good to know a little about how it works.
In these types of training sessions, I enjoy being able to interact with the presenter(s) and virtual attendees. I was not able to follow entire sessions during Educon 2.0 due to the flow of the open house but I can now go back at any time to listen to the presentations.
Finally, we delved into the Classroom 2.0 ning via the delicious links. I explained that the ning is a social network for teachers. The feature that I concentrated on was the forums. I believe that the ning is one way to connect with other teachers in a fairly convenient way. I walked the teachers through a forum entry and showed how a teacher can post a question and receive a fair amount of feedback in a short amount of time.
Again, I gave the teachers five minutes to poke around the forums to see what types of questions were asked and the type of answers they received.
The ning is one way I have become involved in online collaborative projects with other teachers.
This talk led nicely into my next commercial break. I chose to share Darren Draper’s video “Pay Attention”. Overall, it spoke to most of what I was trying to show the teachers. I like the way the video connected what we saw so far to the final section of the presentation: blogs, rss feeds, Voicethreads, and other “new tools”.