At the beginning of each school year, I am given two hours of training time with the staff at the high school to share new tech ideas, good to know tips and tricks tricks with existing tech resources, as well as helping set up that good ole’ grade book in Power School. Two hours can be a long time if you don’t set up the time appropriately. Teachers cannot just sit for two hours and absorb information. I know that I would want the presentation to be as interactive as possible, if I was the learner, so I keep that in mind when I deliver professional development.
Every year, I make sure that there is some element of fun with some sort of game. In past years, staff have participated in Kahoot! and Quizizz games. This year, I decided to use Quizlet live to help reinforce the information that was shared. It is quite fun seeing approximately 60 staff members at one time find their teammates to play the game. This year’s prizes happen to be old school apple screen cleaning cloths and Flipgrid student voice t-shirts. Who doesn’t love a prize like that? Below is a tweet that I shared from one of the two trainings.
— Craig Sheil (@csheil) August 21, 2019
In addition to playing a game, I also incorporated PearDeck into my Google Slide presentation. I have delivered a lot of professional development over the past couple of years, but other than using PearDeck when we first became a 1:1 Chromebook school four years ago to introduce what it was and how it could be used in the classroom setting, I really had not used the tool. I decided it was time to revisit this tool myself and incorporate in the Welcome Back Tech Training session.
Throughout the presentation, I implemented several interactive slides. There were a couple of slides where I embedded a link that I wanted the staff to get to, such as when I was demonstrating something in Google Classroom. Having an embedded link at the bottom of the slide helped streamline the process, especially when there were 60 staff members that all needed to get to the site.
I also asked a handful of multiple choice and true/false questions. I felt that this was a great technique rather than me spitting out information to the staff. Instead, I had them take a guess as to what they thought the answers were regarding students and the Chromebook program that we have in place. These questions kept them involved in the conversation. Also, it was helpful to see where the thinking was as a whole group when I displayed the graph of results.
I think the most beneficial element to my PearDeck presentation, happened to be the very last short answer question I asked. The question was, “What is something you would like to do this year relating to tech that you might want some support with?” This simple question has given me a window in almost 100 teachers as to what they would like to learn this year. It’s a gold mine for me. I now have something to start with to help connect with each teacher to help further enhance their curriculum. Below is just a sampling of responses that I received.
- Interactive way of students learning the parts of the camera. Maybe make something like they click on a part and the name comes up with definition.
- I have never had a chance to explore Flipgrid and would love to learn how to integrate it more!
- I would like to try Flipgrid Shorts in IB & IW to talk about lit, poetry, anything really… (and what’s Wemovie?) I’d also be interested in trying the Google Classroom Rubric.
- I’d like to find a “cool way” to curate resources for kids to use in a “one stop shop” for a project or a paper. Like…combine library resources AND stuff online?
- Continue to figure out a way to incorporate student free choice into a “typical” math course. Sports stats was easier, but how can I do more of this in Algebra 2. Also maybe explore more of how other people use Classroom, my usage is very limited and for certain small purposes.
- Answer 1: I am intrigued by Read and Write. I use online articles all of the time and would love to see if it can work in Spanish to help kids annotate online instead of printing things out all of the time. Answer 2: I am also stopping the website idea and only using classroom. I would love help on how to get it all organized in a way that works for me.
- Going back to using PearDeck presentations more often.
As you can see, just those seven responses are seven completely different responses. Each of those teachers truly thought about their own curriculum and what they could do to make some improvements. This excites me very much and I cannot wait to start checking these off. Number 7 also speaks upon the importance of modeling. If I hadn’t used PearDeck for that particular presentation, that one individual who used PearDeck in the past would not have necessarily received a ‘spark’ to realize the potential again.
Lastly, I want to address how important it really is that staff participate in the role of the student from time to time. Several important reasons:
- Teachers sometimes assume that students know how to do everything. Sometimes teachers themselves do not know how to do what they are asking students to do and if they are at least exposed a bit and see what things look like on the student side, teachers will feel that much more comfortable introducing a new skill.
- Teachers are reminded how, with some tools, they can tweak a current lesson to help make it become more interactive. This speaks to the staff member who wrote about how they need to go back to using PearDeck presentations more often.
- As adults, we don’t play enough. We are focused on how much we have to do in a short period of time. Sometimes, we must take the time, to have fun and learn something new. This is why I feel strongly about implementing simple games into my PD.
Hope that this post helps inspire you to push the envelop in the next training or lesson you deliver with a group of people. If you have any questions on anything in this post, you know where to find me.
And that is my Spiel…