Saturday, March 17, 2012

Playing WIth Media: Staff Development

Playing With Media by Wes Fryer
On Friday, March 16th, our schools had a district wide, full day, professional development opportunity. We did this last year with great success and the feedback that we got was that people really enjoyed being together for a K - 12 day of learning. 

Setting the Stage:
I previewed Wes' book and wrote a little review. I really felt like the book spoke to teachers in their own language. There are great examples and models for them to adapt and adopt. I passed it on to Mike and Cathy, the other two tech integrators, and they felt the same way. At the same time, Wes Fryer was in town and offered to talk to the high school teachers about using media in the STEM classroom. The principal and some teachers were very excited by the presentation. 

The stars seemed aligned so we pitched the idea of bringing Wes back for a full day. We were inspired to try to create a day of pushing everyone's learning but we also wanted to be able to differentiate for our learners. As luck would have it, he was free and the result was the #playingwithmedia day.

We met with the Administrative Team to come up with some guiding questions for the day. The overall question was: How can we inspire and empower ourselves as learners to create, play, and share? We did not want the day to be a technology day, rather we wanted it to be a day of sharing and learning. We also asked to be able to buy the eBook of Playing With Media for a bulk rate. We helped everyone download it on to the device of their choice and read Chapter 1, Why? before March 16th.

We chose to use last year's model to build the full day. The format for this year's day was for Wes to set the stage, then teachers choose the sessions they wanted to attend. There were three 1 hour blocks and within each block there were multiple sessions. We also had some sessions that were student led about some projects they had started. The last block was for work time so that teachers could get assistance on any projects they had started. 

We put together a proposal asking teachers to facilitate sessions. We teach a class in the summer and the best part is the last day when we share out. We had to ask people as well as coax a few. It's interesting that some people feel they don't have anything to share, but what we know is that sharing what you're doing in your classroom, no matter how trivial it seems, can be powerful for another learner. 

Once we had our presenters, we asked each presenter to edit their page on the site. We knew that teachers would want to go to sessions they could not attend, so we wanted to model having resources available after a session or if you couldn't attend a session.

The big day!
Our Superintendent, Dr. Judy Paolucci opened with what she had just learned, iMovie on the iPad. She started this project on Wednesday! (here is Wes' post about it)

Next was Wes' keynote

Followed by Nuts and Bolts (Wes' post about it)

Then we went to sessions

We had students available as helpers. This is a very important part of our professional development model. They were runners, direction givers, assistants to instructors, help desk, and picture takers. Each of the three integrators was free for 1 block so that we could be available if additional help was needed. Generally the students could take care of everything.

At the end, we gathered together and had a sharing session. We were not very successful getting people to share their work and Wes had some good suggestions for how to rectify that in the future. 

Finally, here are a few quotes from the exit slip
  • "This was the best technology day that I've experienced since my 8th grade shop class." 
  • "Great day...Thank you so much for keeping us relevant and cutting edge!"
  • "I loved it and I hope we do it every year. I am also glad that I was nudged into being a presenter, something I would never have volunteered to do."
  • "Excellent day.  We need more time like this.  Collaborating and sharing with teachers in this format is outstanding. " 
  • "This would be great to do at faculty meetings."
  • "Much Better than Expected"
  • "This was really valuable and has implications for my own teaching and collaborating. "
  • "I LOVED the sense of play."
A tremendous thank you to Wes, who not only comes to present, but also integrates, mingles socializes, and learns with us. He is such an inspiration. I am hoping my reflection (next post) will do him justice!

1 comment:

Judy Paolucci said...

This was made possible by your, Cathy's, Mike's, and a host of others' dedication and creativity. Thanks so much Alice!