I ran an after school workshop on an Introduction To Blogging on Tuesday after school that attracted a crowd of three interested colleagues. Probably not surprising because there are less than four weeks left in the school year and most teachers at my school don't want any more professional development, thank you very much. And I suppose after the peak of 20 attendees at my Interactive Whiteboard Basics last week, the numbers could only go down.
Now, I'm no expert on this topic but I thought I'd base my workshop on my own journey into this new way of professional learning. I showed them my blog, and then I spent a fair bit of time checking through the inner workings of Bloglines. I'm a real convert to Bloglines after being shown FeedReader and using Abilon for a couple of months. I like Bloglines because I'm never at the same computer throughout the work day or at home. I also like poking through the public subscriptions of other edubloggers and finding new bloggers to read. So I'm talking away, showing them how to set up an account, chuckling at Dilbert feeds and fielding questions and the question I've been asked more than any other comes up, "How do you find all this stuff?"
I tried to explain the whole journey has led me to discovering all this stuff, how it's all about connecting the learning and taking charge of it yourself. I think they got it but I think it all could have been a lot to take on board at once. However, one teacher, who is an admitted technophobe thanked me at the end and said that she now knew what her teenage son was talking about and she realised that teachers needed to get their hands dirty and dive into the new internet technologies. Today in the staffroom, that same teacher was being ribbed a little bit about what she'd gained from my workshop by another attendee (who had started her own blog which is stalled after one entry) and testing her on some of the things I'd mentioned. But at least her awareness has been raised - she now knows what I'm talking about because the usual response when I talk about my blogging experiences and how I seem to "know so much stuff", someone will say, "Will you be running T & D on that next year?" A quote of David Warlick's beamed to Bloglines this morning via John Pederson says it all about the mindshift the majority of Aussie teachers still have to make.
If we are trying to help our students to become life-long-learners, then this is what teachers should be right now. The question, “Who’s going to teach me to do that?” should be replaced with “I’m going to teach myself to do that!”
Can it be so hard to want to take charge of your learning? Especially if you call yourself an educator.