Tag Archives: professional development

Reflecting on the process

So far my process has been about soaking it all up, taking in as many new things as I can get my hands, eyes and ears on, and trying them out.  As it’s only been a couple of weeks focused on this, I’m sure I’ll continue this way for some time yet — there is an unending source of thing to find, so there’s no chance I’ll run out of things to try.

However, I just listened to Derek Wenmoth’s keynote from the K12 online conference, and I’m inspired to do a little reflecting on just how I approach my own learning and professional development as it ties in directly to the classroom.   His questions at the end of his presentation gave me some focus with which to examine what it is that I do.

The good news is that I feel like I’ve found some significant communities recently, online communities that are supportive of my efforts and also push my boundaries with tech tools and practices.  Cheryl Oakes said something today in a Gizmo conversation about always having a purpose to doing any new project – define the purpose to clarify what needs to be done, what is the forward path, and then also then be able to assess how well it worked.  This seems like an “of course” statement, but it’s amazing how frequently I’ll dive into something without first examining my purpose.  A moment of reflection to find that purpose will make my next actions that much more fruitful.

Another important realization is that while we do have groups set up for professional reflection at school, we aren’t using them very well.  We also keep the group isolated within the structure of staff meetings – one hour a month – with very little mindful interaction outside of that time.  I would like to set up a ning or some kind of communal space where the 6 of us can communicate outside of the currently defined time and space parameters.  It might also give us the means of posing and addressing questions as they come up rather than waiting for that one meeting a month . . when we are inevitably not at our best after a long day of teaching.

I also want to approach my use of technology in the classroom a little more thoughtfully.  How can I use these tools to further the learning I want my students to engage in.  If my goal is to have students do thoughtful self reflection on their own creative process, their own techniques in a particular medium, and the resulting worked/didn’t work paradigm of a final product, which tools will work best for that? How do I and they access them? Who do I need to get permission or help from to get them set up? How do I frame the use of the tools to the students?  Having the students be aware of their peers process would be great – so a blog seems to be an option, with mandatory reflections and comments posted frequently.  I’ll see if I can work to get some of the obstacles overcome . .  by next week when I get new kids in my quarter classes.  While I really want to start this next week, I may have to come to terms with waiting for the semester in January.  Hopefully not. 🙂

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Use it to learn it

The ACTEM MaineEd07 conference was Thursday and Friday – and there were 800 people there, with access to tons of workshops, lots of vendors, and a keynote that pointed out some of the implications for web 2.0 in the classroom. I learned lots and presented two of the workshops. I realized that I have learned a large percentage of what I know about technology from opportunities such as this – they come accross email and I sign up and go. Then I get to bring the information back to the staff at my building or district – sometimes presenting, sometimes just sharing as things come up in conversation during lunch duty or wherever.

We hope that administrators will provide SOME time for us to get tech training, which at this point is as much conceptual as it is “how to” on a tool or software app. I also recognize that many teachers don’t want to/can’t add another thing to their time outside of the school day – we’re already over-booked and way under-compensated. The key for me was Will Richardson’s statement about modeling the practice. We need to be citizens of the digital age – which means that we need to learn this stuff for US, and OUR LEARNING. It is only when we become comfortable and functional with tools that we can then adequately implement them. I’m just now learning how to access the social networks that exist out there – other Educators (in Maine and around the world) who learn about opportunities and tools and share them. With them as my “net”, I am finding out about GREAT things that I’ve never heard about before, since I had been depending on only my principal and technology coordinator to pass things along.

Bottom line: it won’t all be delivered during in-service time, so get out there and find what YOU need, and use the tools and networks of people you trust to choose what works for you.

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