Meaningful PD

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a group of teachers in my district planning professional development for technology integration into the classroom.  I’ve loved listening to them passionately explain the highs and lows of utilizing technology with their students.  Because I’ve been there.  I’ve never left.

Where I find passion is sharing my love for technology with fellow educators.  Heck, I’ll share it with anyone who’ll listen.  I’m constantly amazed at the myriad of tech tools and uses that appear on a daily basis on my Twitter feed.  Truth be told, it’s hard to keep up.  But I keep myself focused by making sure that I’m mastering just a few tools and tinkering with the rest.  😉

I cannot pinpoint the exact year that I started using technology with my students in a meaningful way…but I’ll never go back.  And now I see my role moving more into professional development.  I’ve been doing professional development workshops since 1998.  So I’ve been around the block a few times.  I think I have an idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to professional development…because I’ve been on both sides of the table.

As a participant, I want something that I can walk away with.  I don’t need to be “talked at”…I want my professional development to be meaningful and engaging.  I want it to be fluid and I want it differentiated.  I don’t think I’m asking for much.  It’s what our students expect of us on a daily basis, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to expect that from our own colleagues when it comes to presentations.

I think what I’m trying to say is that the teachers who attend PD need to be thought of with the same mindset as we would our students.  Respect their time, engage them, meet them where they are, scaffold the process…in other words, make the whole experience meaningful.

Bloom’s Taxonomy According to Seinfeld

I’m in the midst of planning PD sessions on tech tools and in my quest to fix the issue I’m having with GoogleDocs, I happened upon this nugget!  I’m not sure how the pathway to troubleshooting my GoogleDocs issue led me to YouTube, but there I landed…and there I proceeded to spend the next 15 minutes.  =)
As a long-time fan of Seinfeld, I enjoyed this video.  I only wish that I had seen this video several years back…for now those of us in the EdTech world are using Digital Bloom’s in which (though similar in skills) the terminology and highest tier differ. 
But I think that any teacher would find humor in this video.  If only PDs were as entertaining……on the other hand, if you’re not a Seinfeld fan, I suppose these clips might be lost on you.

Summer Reads

I am a voracious reader. I’ll devour pretty much anything with words. I’ve even been known to read street signs and billboards aloud, just because. Summer affords me the leisure time to catch up on books that I purchased throughout the school year. Lucky me, I know!  Sure, I read the requisite chic lit books too (hey, don’t judge).  But in truth I enjoy reading anything about history and education (not necessarily the history of education, mind you). 
On today’s docket, I finally finished reading 21st Century Skiils. Bookmarked the important passages to share with my colleagues and students.  I even wrote notes in the margin. I’m kinda Old School like that. 
Austin Kleon’s books arrived earlier than expected (thank you, Amazon Prime). I finished Steal Like an Artist and am currently working my way through Show Your Work! I wanted to jot down key points but my iPad was charging so I had to rely on my iPhone. Everyone knows it’s not the easiest thing to type on the iPhone and for a small person of stature, I feel like I have unusually large thumbs. I spend more time retyping words because I can’t seem to hit the correct key the first or second and sometimes even the third time. So I decided to take a snapshot of the passage and much to my pleasant surprise, I could upload it to Evernote. Hallelujah! I have found yet another quick way to document things for future reference. This is one happy girl. I not only soaked up a bunch of cool stuff to use with my students in September, but I also learned a new trick in Evernote.  Good stuff. =)

#EdCampHOME – Best.PD.ever.

Still riding the high from attending EdCampHOME 3.0.  I lurked during my first one…meaning, I basically followed the conversation via Google on Air.  But this time around, I wanted to participate.  The problem?  I would have to be on video.  Argh!  I hate being on video.  But I had to get out of my comfort zone and just deal with it.

I practiced setting up a Google+ Hangout (with myself – I know how that sounds, but it wasn’t weird…well, it wasn’t too weird anyway) and I played around with the add-ons.  I shifted my laptop around on my desk to figure out the best position so that my face wasn’t in a shadow and so that participants couldn’t see my mess of an office.  But I digress.  And then I decided to add the Lower Third (per @davidtedu).  Much to my surprise, the text was backwards.  Really?!?!  Well, I’m not one to shy away from clicking around so I figured out how flip the screen so that the text was readable, but then to my dismay I discovered that my camera was no longer a mirror of my actions.  It had flipped me too!  Boy, you want to talk about mind games.  I am a visual learner.  I’m very good at spatial everything.  But trying to figure out the mirror/reverse on the camera threw me for a loop.  I left a feeble message in our G+ group and was happy to discover that there were people so willing and able to help.  Two people created visuals for me.  Well, not exactly for me.  But I felt like it was for me.  =)  I totally appreciated it.  A shout out and HUGE thanks to @DAliceMarsh and @2footgiraffe!

When I finally got into the first session, the non-mirrored view of myself was not a problem.  In fact, I didn’t even really see myself because I was always small on the screen.  Thank GOD!  I don’t think I could have concentrated on the conversation at hand if I was face to face with my face really large on the screen.  But it was ridiculous.  I had two laptops and my iPad on my desk and I was trying to follow the feed on Twitter as well as take notes.  Talk about multi-tasking.  It may have looked like (to the participants) that I wasn’t paying attention, but I was.  I totally was.  Copious notes.  =)

The first session was great.  In previous Twitter chats, there was discussion about using students to help deliver PD…so naturally I wanted to learn more.  At the end of the school year, I had a couple of NJHS students create tutorials on how to use Edmodo and MyBigCampus.  I was thinking that I could put those on my class website for next year.  I mean, what better way to learn than from peers?  With little direction, my five students did an awesome job!  And…they earned community service hours for it.  Bonus!  I’m thinking that I can tap that resource to help with PD for this coming school year.  But more importantly, I’m thinking that I could use a few of them to help out at our Staff Development Day in August.  And the wheels are turning…

My second session was almost a bust.  I soooooo wanted to attend the Genius Hour session to hear about how people were implementing GH in their classrooms.  But after about 20 minutes and no help on that end…I saw a tweet from @SLOKevin about there being room in their GHO on hosting/preparing for an EdCamp.  I jumped all over that because that was one of my four votes for this EdCamp anyway.  Though I missed out on the previous 20 minutes, luckily all sessions were recorded so I plan to review the conversation at a later date.  I already set up a GoogleDoc with information on setting up and hosting an EdCamp for our district.  I shared the EdCamp info with our new Director of Technology and another fellow tech-geek.  So hopefully I’ll be able to tweet that our district is finally joining the EdCamp movement.  =)

I see a lot of value in EdCamps.  It’s informal, it’s democratic, it’s collaborative…and boy, is it informative.  What’s not to love about FREE PD with like-minded educators?

For the Flippin’ Doodler in All of Us

At the Think.Create.Share conference at CSUF in May I was introduced to Paper 53.  As a prolific doodler, this app was made for me. I love doing picture notes with my students but it’s hard to wait for them to finish their drawings. After all there’s only so many instructional minutes within a traditional class period. But with great apps like Educreations & Paper 53, I can record a flipped lesson which lets me doodle to my heart’s content but without the waiting. And then our class time can be better utilized for something more interactive. 
My only wish is that Paper 53’s multiple writing tools were free as well. But since I work at a public school, I’ll gladly take free apps. =) Free = good.