You Can’t Make Everyone Happy All The Time

knowledge

You can try though. And we did. And we’ll do it again on May 28, 2009 for the next Google Learning Institute at the CMSCE, Rutgers University.

expectations

There are a few things that we will plan to do differently. It’s tough to say since the feedback was positive, yet the participants were of two skills sets. (Compare the three comments.)

speed

I’ve had a few days to reflect on last Thursday’s GLI and the discussion that GCTs Erica Hartman, Kern Kelley, Jesse Spevack and I had afterward. I also read the evaluations several times and look forward to speaking with Mark Wagner about moving forward with a possible third GLI this summer. I’ve spent the weekend thinking about the 110% effort I give towards my preparation for a professional development event and that I expect when I go to experience someone else’s presentation I have rather high expectations.
Here’s some PD thoughts  I’d like to share:

  1. Describe your event accurately and stick to the description.
  2. Make sure when you prepare for PD that you have materials that accommodate every level of user. Have some step-by-step literature available as well as resources for delving deeper into the topic.
  3. Prepare for every type of learner. Try to provide printed materials, digital copies of those materials, video tutorial links and additional reading resources as well as any other relevant data you can provide.
  4. It’s always better to have too much prepared than too little.
  5. Make sure you come with a feeling of flexibility so that when technical issues arise, you can go to plan B. (Let’s face it: Have a Plan C and D as well.)
  6. Make sure you take an extra dose of patience with your morning coffee so that you don’t get frustrated with the attendees. They haven’t seen the presentation ten times like you have. They may need more time than you planned.
  7. You may think you are the expert in the room, but always plan that there is someone in the room who knows more than you do. Invite that person to contribute to the presentation. (This will work out nicely for you should you come across something you don’t know or that has changed since the last time you saw it ie. an updated version of software.)
  8. Thank everyone for attending your session / workshop and give them your contact information. The PD doesn’t have to end when the timer rings. Encourage your attendees to take a look at your social bookmarks, subscribe to your blog or follow you on Twitter. Go ahead, give them your e-mail. What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I really do read the comments that people leave on evaluations. I try to adjust and improve my work based on those comments. Please leave a comment if I’ve left something off this list – we’d only benefit from it. Thanks!

Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute
Pictures from the 3/26/09 Google Learning Institute
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Be Teachable

sunday-at-educon21-0331
Written on one of the tables at http://educon21.wikispaces.com/Conversations#e313-4

Many bloggers have been posting their take-aways from Educon2.1. I have to admit that though I was sad to leave SLA and my PLN on Sunday afternoon and even sadder to say goodbye to Liz Davis as I left her at the Philadelphia Airport an hour later, my brain was fried. I wasn’t ready to think about next year or reflect on this year’s conference.

Let’s be honest. I wasn’t ready to drive home as I hadn’t had enough sleep. I wasn’t ready to tackle all the laundry that was waiting for me or to have to go grocery shopping to make sure that we had supplies for the girls’ lunches on Monday. Oh, and I wasn’t ready for my workshop on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. I was shot.

What are ya gonna do? Get ready!!

The next day I drove back towards Philly to work with a group of teachers on UDL. It was our third of 5 sessions together, so these were teachers that I had already built a rapport with. We talked openly about good teaching and what was working in their classrooms and then I asked them to take my presentation for the day and redo it so that it was more accessible to them.  We worked on the concepts behind multiple methods of presentation and worked on which tools would help them meet the objectives of the UDL framework. At first they were uncomfortable with editing my presentation. I explained that I had designed it that way to make a point and to teach me a more appropriate way to present these same ideas. I was hoping that they had really looked at the YouTube videos and wikis I had shared with them about PowerPoint reform.

On the drive home I spoke with a tech coordinator from a high school in North Jersey. We had been trying to connect with each other for a couple of weeks, so using the hands-free device in the car, I listened to him talk to me about how great the school’s infrastructure was, how they had at least four computers in each classroom, plus a couple of COWs. What he needed from me was to come in and get the teachers excited about using technology and to give them the tools, skills and confidence to bring their school into the 21st Century. I found myself thinking that I’d be happy to help him as log as his staff was teachable.

0128091The next day I drove to North Jersey to finish some SMARTBoard mentoring I mentioned in a previous post. I had 5 sessions mapped out for the morning ranging from a group of pre-k teachers with no IWB experience to a 5th grade teacher with over a year’s experience who was thirsty to learn the more advanced features of the technology.  What I didn’t expect was the middle school language arts teacher who walked in the room who had just started working at the school the prior week. She immediately asked me how this technology would help her get her students to be better writers. I asked her how she teaches them to write. We only had 25 minutes together, so you can understand that I needed to make some pretty quick decisions. She was very much against using any technology in the classroom because (…and you’ve heard this one before…) when she was a student, she learned to write just fine without a computer.

I sat and calmly talked with her about how not every piece of technology meets every need. That she might consider using collaborative documents with her students. I asked her if she wanted to make sure that her students were ready for high school, college and the work force in addition to being good writers. She said she was interested in learning how she could integrate technology and still teach the pedagogy behind good writing. She was open to ideas. She was teachable. I invited her to the upcoming Google Learning Institute at Rutgers University.

I was scheduled to drive back towards Philly today to work in one of the middle schools in Camden City School District. I work with a team of stellar teachers there in my 21st Century Learning Initiative. Though I’m disappointed it was canceled due to the snow (the district closed the schools), it gave me a chance to go through my inbox, my notes from Educon2.1 and look back at the week and what’s still to come.

What have I learned?

I tell people I try to learn something each day. I’m pretty sure that on the days I’m out in the field working with teachers I learn way more than one thing. I know I learn more than one thing a day when I attend a professional development event, be it in person or virtually.

I try to be teachable. Whether you are a noobie or a seasoned educator or somewhere in between – be teachable.

The Google Learning Institute Comes to Rutgers University

gli

Search, learn, share – the GLI has made it to the East Coast!!!

Brought to you by the producers of the Google Teacher Academy, the Google Learning Institute (GLI) introduces participants to innovative ways Google tools can be used in education. A full day of fast-paced presentations and hands-on activities includes experience with advanced search techniques, collaborative web-based applications, and inspirational instructional strategies. Google Certified Teachers share ways they’ve implemented tools such as Google Docs, Google EarthGoogle Sites, and… even more. Participants who complete the event are given access to the Google Learning Network (GLN), an online community focused on supporting educators as they learn more about the power of Google to drive student learning.

uw-stsig

The CMSCE at Rutgers University is partnering with CUE to host this event for NJ educators.

Scholarships to this professional development event are available from such companies as Keyboard Consultants and Impact Technologies. Just submit this quick application after registering for course # 032609a and you’ll be notified by March 1, 2009 whether you have been awarded one of the available scholarships. (Please contact me directly if you have any questions or you are interested in sponsoring a NJ educator, school or district at this special event.

 

Update to this post made on 1/29/09: A second Google Learning Institute will be held at the Busch Campus Center at Rutgers University on May 28, 2009. You can register for this event by going to http://cmsce.rutgers.edu.