Tomorrow marks my first day for facilitating professional development (PD) here in our district for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. I am so excited I can hardly wait!
It feels so good to know that we have planned strong, useful, tech-rich sessions for teachers that model what is possible in their classrooms. The exercises are meaningful and simple so that teachers can take them right back to their classrooms and be ready to implement them with their students as soon as school begins later this summer. The tools are also user-friendly so that students and teachers can easily utilize them as go-to resources if they choose.
My morning session will guide teachers to explore building a digital learning community. They can make choices according to how they think they will be best used in their own repertoire.
After thinking about and choosing a standard of focus, we will look at Diigo, a social bookmarking tool. I can see this applied in the classroom for student discussions around an article or topic, used as a research bookmarking tool, or as a tool for highlighting and annotating practice (and use). It would be applicable for reading circles, small group work or stations, and provide a resource for students to learn to make notes for referencing a non-fiction text for an essay, a debate, or a discussion board.
Next, we will explore Edmodo. During this past year I have seen students and teachers using this tool in a multiplicity of ways. It is great for communication between students in a group who are collaborating on an out-of-class project. Teachers have led discussion board reviews prior to a big test. They have used it as a way to share and discuss online articles, videos, etc. It offers teachers a way to implement online quizzes, assignments, and discussions of all sorts. It has also provided a place for teachers and students to store digital work much like an online locker. Teachers have also used it as a way to connect with other teachers and share ideas.
After a break, we will explore netTrekker for its resources and options for teachers and students to collaborate online. Not only does it provide students with a safe searching and researching environment, it also allows teachers to make assignments and keep a portfolio that they can share with colleagues.
The teachers will have some time to check into implementing a Twitter account for personal use or to check into getting certification for a professional account. We also will talk about some other ways teachers can develop personal learning and collaboration communities. The best thing is that we have banked in some time for teachers to really dig deeper and explore these resources and begin to plan how they might use them to support and extend classroom learning.
We used to think of our professional learning networks/communities as the folks across the hall or in our district but these days, those connections can be with folks across the district or eve across globe!
My afternoon session will focus on blogging in the classroom. We will be exploring KidBlog, Google Sites, and a district Edublogs account as tools for these efforts. This is probably my favorite professional development session to facilitate! It offers teachers time to learn about blogging and plan ways to use it with their students.
I love introducing an online option for teachers and students to share ideas, keep their notes and thoughts organized in one place, and reflect on their learning and practices. Almost every teacher who has worked with me to set up using blogging as a classroom tool has been enthused and excited about the results it brings. So, I feel like my love of blogging and its use as a classroom tool is contagious!
I know that the teachers who will join me tomorrow will not arrive at my PD sessions with the excited attitude that I will but I certainly hope they leave with the same enthusiasm that I have.
We will be Tweeting updates using #BYOTFridays. Join us if you can!