I could sit and stew over my recent day long district wide professional development workshop - going back and forth - it was a disaster, it was a success - maybe to conclude it was both. But I'll post this reflection tonight because it can't wait and silence is the antithesis of what I set out to do on Monday.
I wanted to share tools for sharing and help build connections with educators in my county. I learned quickly that most of the tools for sharing are blocked even for staff (Twitter, Ning, YouTube). Unfortunately, my participants also share access to computers running Windows 98, staff computers running Deep Freeze to prevent "misuse", and a general lack of technology in the classrooms for students. So my presentation must have sounded like the "Wah Wah Wah" of the teacher from Peanuts to some.
But I still love sharing, and I heard and saw examples yesterday of great uses of blogging in the classroom, using interactive white boards, Moodle courses and using Google Docs. I could have focussed my session on any one of these tools and been the soul source of information, but instead small groups formed in the afternoon and I let my participants take charge. Some shared and some received and as a group we covered more. Hopefully, the sharing won't be completely broken by blocked access and frustration, and the process will continue. I also admired the willingness, in spite of frustration, to explore resources like Twitter and Ning while we had access together.
24 hours later I am responding to e-mails, tweets, and forum posts from some of my participants. I'm excited to start the real work behind my session, making meaningful connections, sharing commonalities, and looking for answers. And hopefully there are conversations related to our session happening beyond my network; even if it's grumbling about the fact that I talked about a lot ideas and tools that will never see the light of day in their school.
My thanks to all, and my apologies to those who were disappointed with my presentation style and content. I welcome your feedback and look forward to keeping the conversation going.
I'd also like to share the link to our etherpad document. It's messy and unrefined, but I love it's potential. It's also "read only" for purposes of this blog post, just in case ; )