Model, Model, Model!

Second take away from #TIES15 this year.  Model, Model, Model.  Too often, there are expectations for educators to accomplish things in their classrooms, when they have yet to experiences them as learners!

I was VERY fortunate to be on a team with Matt Hillman (@mahillman), Michelle Ament (@mlament) and Rachel Gorton (@raztech ) for a session called Pathway to Personalized Professional Development.   One of the things we decided to do, as a team, was to provide participants choice in what they would learn.  So, upon coming into the session, participants would make a choice, based on a 1 minute or less pitch by us – the facilitators. We would then take our groups and split up.  After about 20 minutes of showcasing our ideas, we did a jigsaw so members of our groups had an opportunity to learn from members of other groups.   We brought the group together for a whole group conversation – and follow up with a call to action Flipgrid. (I believe we ran out of time for this activity feel free to add your ideas now!)

Group Picture

Pathways to Personalized Professional Development Team!

While I have much to share about my topic – Differentiating PD (future post) – the point I want to make is the way we rolled with this session. I have participated in Jigsaw activities, but I have never facilitated PD like this.    What a great way to model good learning strategies.  I will certainly take this back to my district and use it with my own staff when the opportunity arises.

In November, at the New Prague Blended Learning Conference – I decided to do something a little different with one of my sessions. I BLENDED it.  Yes, it was a f2f session, but at the last minute – I decided to do a blended lesson using this presentation  At the very beginning, I shared with the audience, I had never done this before.  This was true.  I also shared I had my own thoughts this would crash and burn.  Also true – my fixed mindset nagging at me!  (also incredibly important to model!)

At first, the majority of the participants were not excited about this idea.  I shared – I am here to push you out of your comfort zones and besides this is the Blended Learning conference!  And then….it was MAGIC!  The participants really got into it. My only request – they had to complete Module 1, and then they could choose what module interest them next.  They had choice in where (location) they participated.  My only request,  I wanted to be in eyeshot.   They were in the classroom, out in the halls, sitting on the floor, or sitting on the stairs.  As they went through the lessons, discussions, I walked around, monitored, answering questions.  I had a chance to talk with EVERYONE!  I also wanted to get their feedback – thoughts beyond the formative assessments I had built into the lessons?  From my observation, the engagement was very high and the hour seemed like minutes! We finalized our session with an big group discussion.

Photo collage

Pictures from my Blended Session

So that brings me to today.   The last week or so, I have been running sessions around formative assessment tools with teachers.  Its been quite successful as we have conversations about opportunities the tools have to better inform instruction.  But, how often,do  we, as technology directors, model good use of technology with our leadership teams?   Formative assessment tools can be incredible to help differentiate and bring discussions deeper within our meetings.  Many times in large group staff meetings, only a few will speak up (or monopolize) the discussions.  These tools can provide everyone a voice.

So, today I introduced AND had our team do a Socrative Quiz (around a topic relevant to us) and demonstrated the opportunity of Edpuzzle as a flipped meeting tool.    The dialog was rich and hopefully the tools were seen as helpful for them to use with staff to better differentiate their own staff meetings.  (I should have done an exit ticket!)

The point is this.  Talking the talk is fine, but we ALL need to experiences how technology can be meaningful and drive deeper learning/discussion.  If we expect our classrooms to be using the tools, we should also be modeling the effective use at technology (as well as good learning design) at the school/district level too.

And so, #mnlead!  This CTA is accomplished!  (I hope to do this in future meetings as well)


My call to action after participating in #mnlead chat at #ties15