Today was a pretty good day. A project that I’ve been coordinating (hence my job title) came to fruition in a meaningful and successful way. We held a Staff Professional Learning day with the theme of “Quality Teaching And eLearning” – a grass roots event that helped to hone in on our Interactive Whiteboard program and the wider implications of technology and pedagogy. It might be small potatoes compared to some events that many people are involved in but it was very important for our school’s forward momentum in this area.
My role was to come up with an overall concept and then shape it into a day that would benefit the staff and give them opportunity to build on their skills, learn from each other and access some outside expertise. I convened a committee who helped with decision making and shouldered the workload involved and we came up with a plan.
So today, the day unfolded in a blend that had its moments from an organisational viewpoint (mainly timing of events) but catered pretty well for our diverse range of staff. We were lucky enough to have Dr. Trudy Sweeney as our opening keynote who talked about the research about the Millennium Generation, how it related to the latest IWB research and the importance of focussing on good teaching. It was interesting to see quotes she used to back up the view that teachers are crucial to the learning process for students, including critic of modern education, Kevin Donnelly! We then broke up into three groups for some Interactive Whiteboard workshops. I was lucky enough to take the Advanced group where I did a brief re-run of my iwb 2.0 workshop from the CEGSA conference. It ended up being more conversational than presentational but that’s OK.
We broke for morning tea (Italian pastries, yum!) and Yvonne Murtagh was there in time to tell us all about the Digital Learning Bank. She walked us through the different formats and types of content there and gave the staff plenty of time to explore and play. We then broke for a slightly late lunch (curries!) and in the afternoon, we had a two rounds of teacher run Hands On Workshops. These were excellent and it was great that we have enough staff with the confidence to run something for their peers. We had 50 minute workshops on Digital Stories, Recording in Audacity, Introduction to Claymation, Using Scanners and DVDs, eBooks, Interactive Websites, Online Subscription Services and my contribution was an introduction to social bookmarking with del.icio.us. That was a bit tricky – 45 minutes was probably too short a time span when I had five complete newbies and two who already had accounts but wanted to find out more about the network features. Still, the good thing about it being a school event is that staff who want me to show them more don’t have far to go to find me. We were going to finish with an overview on EdCap but time ran out so we finished up with our prize draws at the end where a few lucky staff members won prizes of wine and a memory stick.
Many thanks to my hard working committee. It was nice to bring something from concept to fruition and be the lead on it the whole way. This sort of grassroots structure for professional learning could be a useful blueprint for South Australian schools.