I'm feeling very proud of my colleagues this evening. Between my principal and I, we cooked up a sharing process based on a poster sharing session she was part of during a Teaching Australia principal's PD program. The focus was on sharing contemporary classroom practice with a technology flavour. We designed the poster template, had copies printed up on A2 paper and distributed them out to all staff members. I talked about the goals behind the process and followed up with this email:
School Closure Day requirements:
Just to clarify from last night, you will receive your A2 sheet and marker in your pigeonhole this afternoon. Your task is to reflect on and write in dot points about an aspect of your classroom practice that reflects
contemporary learning. Use the ISTE Standards to help hone your thoughts:
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Think of something you have worked on that would fit into these categories, write it up on the A2 sheet with the view that you will present it to a group of colleagues speaking for no more than 5 minutes.
You will present it once more to more colleagues from other groups as well.
I know that this can be nerve-wracking for many of us but consider the following: Research shows that some of the most powerful learning occurs when colleagues share what they do (hence the emphasis on Professional Learning Communities). We also have a duty to our students and colleagues to de-privatise our practice - as we all build on each other's work as students move through the school.
This is not an exercise in big-noting or critiquing.
Well, the resulting sessions were excellent. Ann had shuffled the staff into groups of 5 with a 5 minute allocation for each person to speak to their poster. Once that had happened, each group broke apart to re-present their poster, this time for 10 minutes to interested staff members from the other groups. So, in the space of an hour, I personally heard how a Year 3 teacher was using interactive material on netbooks with her class, how a Year 5/6 teacher was fostering a learning community within her classroom, a Year 5 teacher who used a key YouTube video to cement a key inquiry concept, an inspiring story of a Year 3 teacher new to our school this year who had gone in his words from "Lost In Space" to "Star Trek" in his evolving use of the same netbooks, a junior primary teacher who was seeking to improve her IWB skills, our Assistant Principal who was using a literacy website with her Reception students as well as presenting my own on the use of delicious tagged bundles of sites for our Inquiry unit as well as the use of YouTube videos to show varying viewpoints on the topic of the Murray River / Lower Lakes. I've blogged about this before - but as is often the case, most of my colleagues don't read this blog so this was the first they knew about my strategies.
It was an awesome array of contemporary practice at our school and showed that although the progress is all at differing stages and speeds, everyone is moving forward and committed to ensuring that our practice provides the best learning for our students. My next job is inform the parents booked in for my ICT Focus evening tomorrow night.