1. A Matter of Terminology Teachers
Like students, are learners.Therefore, they start in different places, learn at different paces and in different ways. Just as we have learning goals for our students, sessions need to have clear, openly stated goals. Importantly, these need to offer the potential to improve classroom practice.
2. A Matter of Scheduling
You discover that a staff meeting will be given over to “Five Exciting Alternatives to PowerPoint”. I know what you’re thinking; “shoot me now!” Find and use alternate time slots. Look into conducting a “Techie Brekkie,” a targeted Twitter Chat or a weekend Google Hangout. I intend to introduce a daily “Book a Session,” where teachers will work with me one on one during a “free” lesson to focus on their individual needs.
3. A Matter of Content
The age of “one-size-fits all” professional learning is long gone; it should not be up to the presenter to decide upon the content. Technology sessions need to be targeted, purposeful and above all, practical. Also consider the amount of content and the pace of delivery. There is no value in rushing on to the next “cool tool” when participants are still creating an account for the previous one.
4. A Matter of Engagement
Jason Bretzmann (@jbretzmann) tells a “horror story” about attending a session where the presenter played the banjo and sang about death! You need to engage your audience but no one should be forced to listen to the banjo. I always ensure that I am very confident in the material. There’s nothing worse than a scrambling, apologetic presenter who is failing to demonstrate the supposed ease of using a new tool. My other great ally is YouTube; I include at least two “interludes” that are humourous but still en pointe.
5. A Matter of Alternatives
Provide alternatives to the “traditional” model of 50 unwilling participants trapped in a room. Flipped Learning is gaining traction in the classroom, so why not employ it for staff as well. A collection of short “How To…” videos are a highly valuable resource. I also offer “Bite-sized Learning”, a collection of infographics created in Piktochart.