I’m no expert when it comes to educational technology. I’ll be first in line to admit that. However, I do have an interest in technology (evident to anyone who’s ever talked to me for more than 7.5 minutes), and that naturally spills over into wanting to use it more completely in my workplace. There are some amazing things being done by some very talented people elsewhere in the education sector that I’m just starting on, but I want to try different things, which is maybe what got me into this situation in the first place.
A week before exams, my principal asked me to do a short presentation on TeacherTube and the lesson plan options available on the site. While I’d signed up for an account there a while back, I’d never used it much, so I wasn’t convinced I could do an effective presentation on it, so I asked if I could go a little broader for content. What I ended up with was a mishmash of Web 2.0 tools that I’d found useful as a teacher, one of which was TeacherTube. You can see my presentation on Prezi.com.
Since I only had five minutes, I wanted to keep it rolling and made every tool’s presentation short and punchy. Afterwards, I received a number of comments from colleagues about the presentation, with many saying they wished they had time to explore more fully some of the resources. I’m most familiar with web design, so I built a website with links to all the resources I’d talked about, along with some RSS “magic” (even that TLA tends to scare people off, so I didn’t go into the Delicious/Diigo/Yahoo Pipes/Feedburner/PHP mashup that makes content automagically appear on those pages) to keep the pages fresh.
That’s all well and good, but the point of PD is that people will be able to incorporate into their own professional practice, and a webpage, no matter how content-fresh it is, will never do that. Anyway, long story sort of short(er), I will be doing a series of lunch-hour PD sessions for each tool where teachers can bring their own laptop and get the tool up and running for themselves. I’m hoping this means a far higher conversion rate to the tools than a bunch of links or a brief presentation does.
The one aspect I haven’t really figured out is the “why” of each tool – I can explain the “how” easily enough, but how do you rationalize a tool like Twitter, which really is kind of absurd and the utility of which only becomes apparent to the degree that you allow yourself to connect with it. Even Lee LeFever had trouble with that one…