Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Professional Development that Works

Did you ever wonder what a good model of professional development might look like? Well, I just had one today. This professional development activity is called Cadre, and it's sponsored by my school district. It's facilitated by Paul, a great guy from Apple Computer.

Paul started out today by asking what we wanted to know about Web 2.0, and we knew just enough to be dangerous when he threw out that term. Minutes later, we had a graphic organizer of about 20 different topics we had heard something about.

We narrowed those 20 topics we have generated into 6 focus areas. Then Paul divided us into groups based on our main area of interest. He then gave us the next hour and a half to just explore that web 2.0 concept or tool and propose potential uses for it in education. It was really a good chance for people who were interested in something they had heard about to dig deeper into that topic.

After lunch, we all presented what we have found. We explored Twitter and Pownce; We explored Moodles, Blogs, and Wikis; We explored and created Skrbls. We explored del.icio.us. Friends (Brandon, Elisha, Ann and Mike) tweeted in to help me demonstrate Twitter and the power it has as a network. I learned about a number of modules within Moodle that might address some needs in my classroom as a one stop location, including discussion sections, chat sections, and places to post other content.

As the afternoon wore on, the student became the teacher when I clued Paul in to Jott and how to use it, which he in turn shared with the group, and by the end of the day, many people in the room had signed up for Jott accounts and were already using it to send themselves and others notes. And in the middle of the session, Kristin ran a test session of CoverItLive, which the group got to see unfold.

By the end of the day, everyone had come away with something new to use in either their classroom, and in some cases, people had new personal tools too.

Why was this a good model of professional development? It allowed teachers interested in transforming their classrooms and engaging their students time to explore something they might not have had time to otherwise. The gears were definitely turning all day long as this group of teachers took ownership of their own learning for a day.

1 comment:

Lori said...


It sounds like you had a very exciting, productive day! You have given me great food for thought!