Saturday, January 30, 2010

PD Thoughts

I had a great day yesterday, with my first chance to present solo to colleagues at the ETFO-sponsored PD Day in South River.
I began by talking about the wonderful OTF conferences of the past year, including the TLLP wrap-up, and two featuring Will Richardson. I tried to convey as much of the amazement and excitement of those events as possible. In particular I think it’s important that teachers realize that Will’s Part 1 was completely different from Part 2 which occurred just six months later: moving from a fast-paced and mind-boggling intro to various tools, to the equally challenging task of re-envisioning the curriculum itself.
Talking about using social media and web 2.0 technology is overwhelming for some, and inspiring for others. I wanted those in attendance to understand that everyone is in the same shiny new boat. If they look at me and feel that I am way beyond where they are or could ever hope to be, take heart. I didn’t know any of this a year ago. As well, I feel that I am always behind the curve when I hear about the creativity and innovations of colleagues on the Twitter PLN. I think the key is to have fun exploring and to release your students to learn along with you. And reach out to other educators for help.
There were polite grumbles about lack of support and equipment, and this is distressing. In speaking to a friend earlier today I wondered if this is not creating a “culture of whining.” Previously I had been devouring the tweets from Educon. Three of many that I have enjoyed so far were (to paraphrase):
“Twitter PLN is like friends with benefits ” J
“There will always be a degree of teacher resistance no matter what the topic.”
“One computer per classroom is putting tech at the point of instruction, not construction.”
While we all try constantly to teach to the strengths of individual students, recognizing different learning styles and multiple intelligences, I think we need to acknowledge that teachers also all learn differently. And a variety of supports are needed for teachers trying to incorporate technology into their practice, just as with our students. Not providing this leads to passive resistance I believe, from people who are truly very dedicated to their jobs.

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