Staff Professional Learning Day

qtel.jpgToday 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 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.

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7 thoughts on “Staff Professional Learning Day

  1. AB

    Glad to hear the day went well Graham – I think it’s the grass roots stuff that’s most important in any professional development. For so many teachers coming to terms with new technology in the classroom, it’s great to have someone close at hand that they can find and ask. Once they’ve got the confidence, then they’ll be more comfortable with advice from *strangers* online?

  2. Kevin Sandridge

    Graham! Sounds like you had a very productive day indeed. We’re just starting our year this week, with teachers reporting M-F and students rolling in on the 20th.

    I am very interested in IWB teaching and would like to speak with you more on the subject. Am actively recruiting a few key players here on our staff to join with me in exploring the benefits of using collaborative technology in the classroom. As always, I look forward to reading your posts as they always get my brain pumping. Will keep you posted as things roll along. Best to you there.


  3. Kevin Donnelly


    While I am happy to be described as a critic of modern education, the ‘teacher bashing ‘ label is unwarranted. The overwhelming tenor of the criticisms I put forward is directed at syllabus documents, professional associations and the educrats who seek to control what happens in the classroom. Instead of ‘bashing’ teachers, I have consistently argued that they need to be better supported.

  4. Graham Wegner

    Kevin, you have every right to object to my ill thought out name calling – it was an expression of how your news columns come across to many average teachers I work with – and I will amend the wording. Sometimes it is easy to have a potshot at public figures such as yourself without thinking through the ramifications. I think I have just learned a valuable lesson in that – please accept my apology for the poor word choice.

  5. Tracy

    Congratulations – this sounds like you had a successful day!

    I think you have a good recipe here –> the right people in the room, the opportunity to learn from one another, and good food (Italian pastries…mmmm) will always lead to good change!

    Wondering…what will be the follow-up?


  6. SouthOz

    Congratulations, Graham,
    I was very impressed with the level of organisation and the diversity of PD offerings available at your staff professional learning day. Great to see the level of collaboration and in-house mentoring with so many workshops provided by teachers from your school.
    Lunch was a bonus!
    Well done!

  7. John Pearce

    Hi Graham,
    Keeping the potato metaphor going isn’t it just the case that once a few of those little spud chats are planted in the garden that they keep popping up again and again every season thereafter. I’m sure that such will be the case in the Lockley’s North garden. Long may the little spud patch live 🙂
    John P
    PS Kevin was quick off the mark, just goes to show the reach of your words….


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