Ok. So I finally, after weeks of agonizing and reflecting, I took the step. For five months, I've used this forum to write about my discovery of web 2.0 technologies, about what vast potential exists, and about what I can and should be doing next. Well, next is now.
Today I walked into the principal's office and volunteered to present a one-hour after school presentation to the English department on some of these digital tools available to us. Our contract requires we participate in 10 hours of after school professional development, and we were scheduled for round four of our year-long initiative to continually review varied in-class literacy strategies. We've been down that road before and some of my colleagues were growing leery.
The workshop is not for another two weeks, which includes a week of April vacation, but I have begun to brew up some ideas about how to go about it. For months I've been making note of the excellent resources popping up all over the place. Patrick Higgins has a great web 2.0 resource wiki. Brian at Bump on the Blog likewise has a great resource wiki and it seems has even found some success inspiring novice teachers to "implement and experiment." That's encouraging.
I'm going to start pretty basic. For one thing, I don't want to overwhelm anyone in the short hour I have. And second, I'd like this session to lead to further professional development, rather than be an eye-rolling session that shouts out the latest and greatest tech toys. My goal has always been that we teachers need to use these tools to enhance professional growth and to better focus our instruction in a manner that best helps our students learn. One of my biggest fears is that teachers will immediately ask the question: when am I supposed to find time to do this, between grading papers, planning units, dealing with parents, etc...? There's never enough time. This isn't about time for something new, it's about something new to help us better use our time.
With that being said, I have a rough agenda sketched out for the afternoon, but am open to any feedback:
- Show Karl Fisch's (now viral) video "What if...?"
- Discussion/introduction to 21st Century skills and demands
- Comparison of web 1.0 to web 2.0
- Demonstrate Google Earth and Sketchup - use Globe Theatre model and London map as example
- What is a blog? - introduction to blogger
- How can blogs be used in the classroom? - show examples...
- What's next?
What is the best entry point for teachers like that? Should I take another tact? Like maybe get everyone in front of a computer and sign them up for a blogger account? It comes back again to that nagging fear: will I somehow turn teachers off from implementing and experimenting with what I truly believe are vital educational tools? I hope not.
photo credit: First Step by roujo on Flickr