Tuesday, October 09, 2007


So...you think you've got some cool tools to show to teachers. Tools that will amaze them, excite them, get them thinking. So you show them off, you set up accounts, you give them time to explore, you encourage them to interact with each other to figure out all that each tool has to offer. For some teachers, this is their learning style - just point the way and they'll find the right path. For others this creates panic - "You're not going to show us how to use this?" "We don't even get a tutorial first?"

This was my experience today. It was really great! And...it was really a struggle. I set up four tools: Pageflakes, Writeboard, Google (docs, calendar, iGoogle and maps) and Trailfire. Put together a quick intro using Voice Thread, placed that in a wiki that I had set up as a preview to the session (which no one went to as a preview even though it was in the session description). My VoiceThread intro was all about how the web has changed and it talked about each of the tools one by one giving a little background about how the tool could be used- probably could have done at little more with that whole part of the presentation.

Where did I go wrong? Well, I didn't...not really.... It's just that there were basically two different kinds of teachers in the room and I didn't meet the needs of all of them. So, some walked away muttering about the great tools they saw with one teacher who emailed me later in the afternoon with what he had already created and some walked away talking about needing a lot more support for their learning. Hmmm...I guess lots of kids do that too huh?

The next time...
If I ever get a change to do this again, and I hope I will, I would set up the lab with tools to explore but use the wireless laptops in the library (since it's right next door) to provide a tutorial for those who need it. We have to be able to address those learning styles for teachers just as we do for our students. Today's session was only an hour and a half - which was actually cut short because of the length of the keynote speaker's presentation. Instead of the single session - I'd consider doing a double session instead - spend the first session taking more time to talk about the instructional use of the tools and doing that quick little walk through, then the second session could be devoted to setting up the tools for instruction and for sharing what was accomplished as well as providing that extra support that some teacher learners need.

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