What an informative and useful workshop! Two thumbs up to both the presenters! We were split into two groups, but I took a little time to pop into the other room and could see that they were just as actively involved as we were.
As I considered how to begin this blog post, it came to mind that although this was a “tech session”, the most important part was the chance to connect with other TEACHERS! That’s really what a Professional Development Day is all about… sharing TEACHER knowledge, experiences, and aspirations. The teachers from my school ranged from Grades 2 to 5, so we don’t always have the chance to actually work together. Our presenter, James, is well known for his boundless enthusiasm and fun sense of humour, so there was plenty of opportunity for us to share some laughs. Our little group has made a new bond now… we ARE the TLI group! Rather than working in isolation in our classrooms, we’ll be much more open to sharing each other’s struggles… and successes… as we explore new avenues of teaching.
What was my most important learning? Well, Jane and her “old school smarts” have done me in again! She went home with a notebook of ideas, laughing at how in her last workshop, she was the only one with a real pen and paper. I decided to type my notes in MSWord, however, I inadvertently saved the file to my school account instead of my actual laptop. Hmmm…. I can’t access the school account at home! Sigh! So I’m spending the morning investigating online storage facilities (eg. dropbox, Skydrive, the Cloud) so that I can access my notes anywhere. In the end, I know will be happy with my choice of keeping notes, but for now there is a lesson to be learned… don’t give up something that works for you just because it’s not the most “modern” choice.
What did we learn at the workshop?… everything from how to get the laptop turned on and working for the newbies, to MSOffice howto’s such as organizing your Outlook inbox and setting up group lists (distribution lists), and the location of some useful local computer shops. At the end, we enjoyed an inspiring demonstration of podcasting and heard some anecdotes from James’ Grade 8 class.
I was able to help out a bit during the day, but I also got some new tips myself, and the inspiration to revisit some ideas that I haven’t done in a long time! One of these is “OneNote”. I remember Brian Kuhn highly recommending this application quite a long time ago, but after Friday’s workshop, I’m quite excited about using it myself! I have used “Pageflakes” and “Delicious” as online ways to collect links I find in subject areas, but I love the way “OneNote” can collect links, text, images… pretty well everything… in an appealing visual way. (BTW, for some peculiar reason, I simply LOVE indexing and cross-referencing, so this is right up my alley!)
An additional plus to the workshop is that there was considerable use of online videos, created by the presenters, which are now accessible to review at our leisure. I’m sure that making these videos helped our presenters really clarify the procedures in their own minds… which puts a little light bulb over MY head…!!! What if I had MY class do a little video on some of OUR Grade 2 learning! Whew! That’s “heady stuff”, isn’t it. However, I know I have seen exactly those sorts of videos “somewhere” on Edublogs with very young children. Oh gosh, I’d better get OneNote set up so that I can get these ideas down!
So much to do and explore… and so little time!