The joy of explaining to students and staff intranet and internet navigation.
Please… No More Professional Development if you are going to do it the way it has always been done.
- Do not read to me, I can read.
- Do not pull out a Popsicle stick and ask me for the answer you want, I do not perform on command. And, you might not want to hear my analytical assessment of answers beyond your limited question. I am a thinker not a fill in the blanker.
- Do not ask me to join a group of other people, that is not my learning style. Adapt your style to me. That’s what most of us have to do for the kids we teach.
- Do not assume one size fits all. I am not your size and you have not stopped long enough to know me or figure out my size.
- Do not speak so fast that you have to cover all the material you think you have to cover, I have digital tools, send me a link to your material. I will continue to learn well beyond your prefab session. Remember, it is what you say, not how much you say.
- Do not hand out paper copies only, I have digital tools, send me a link to your material. My learning goes well beyond your simulated speech.
- Do not tell me to put up my digital tools so I can focus on you, I use digital tools to focus on you.
- Do not assume that “seat time” is the same as comprehension. I can sit in your session, but that does not mean that I comprehend what you want me to.
- Do not assume you know everything. I can Google faster than you can speak.
- Do not assume that the “I am bored out of my mind look on my face” is a statement of actual boredom. It may be and most likely is, but I think. I think about what you say. I think deeply about what others say. My mind delves deep into multiple subjects and is most likely outpacing your ability to keep up with my thinking.
- But most of all, Please, Please, Please…Do not treat me like an adolescent, I am an adult learner. And, I have been in the learning process for longer than many of you are old.
Oh how I have been there. Sitting through endless workshops, talked at, read to, and bored to tears. I have also been in those workshops where I was a guinea pig for someone’s latest fad methodology that expected me to run around the room like a cheerleader on a caffeine overdose. I have been to sessions where I was told to turn off my digital device due to the instructors fear that I would not hang on to every word they were boring me with. Once I was even questioned as to why I was taking notes. And I love to take copious notes. It is a part of the way I learn. Hmm… How I learn.
I do not learn like everyone else. And everyone else does not learn like me. I learn through the things that work for me. Tell me what needs to be learned and I will put together a customized plan that will expose me to the content I need, allow me to process the new information, comprehend the information, and then demonstrate what I know through a new product.
Continually exposed and expected to learn in a world of learning from days gone by, I long to see organizations embrace the reality of customized/personal learning. It’s interesting to me that the same institutions that denounce the sage of the stage methodology for instructing students use that same methodology when it comes to professional development. Then there is the other extreme. I have been exposed to professional development sessions that operated more like a kindergarten classroom rather than a professional encounter. I am a professional by the way. Point me in the right direction and I will get the job done.
I like the idea of brewing my own professional development. I like the idea of personalized learning plans. I like the idea personalized learning. I like the edSurge article on Personalized Professional Development. I really like their info-graphic. I like the idea of moving from the way it has always been done to a way that is the most productive for professional learners today.
It’s that time again, that time when the preparation for a new school year is upon us. That means that Trainers will be training and educators will be sitting in meetings. Trainers will be reading their presentations to the audience and attenders will be bored out of their minds. Trainers will distribute a forest of pulp that will end up somewhere, but no one knows its real final destination.
The actual training process is a matter for another post. Today I am thinking about the distribution and depository of information. The “handing out” of important information for future reference. The printing and photocopying of handouts that consume a forest of pulp and a box car of toner. Paper handouts that provide great doodling canvases and landfill recipients. By distribution I mean how we deliver information to attendees and by depository I mean how we store information for further reference. By information I mean the stuff that we want the attendees to “take with them for future reference”.
Some districts and campuses will continue to distribute information the same way it has always been done. Some districts and campuses have already made the transition to some form of digital delivery and deposits of information. Some districts and campuses will continue to pioneer more efficient ways to distribute and deposit information.
When it comes to what we “hand out” to attendees and “how the attendees will reference” that information later, I think in terms of “Objectives and Strategies”. What we want to accomplish and what is the way to accomplish what we want done. If I am needing to provide Teachers with important information for the new school year that they will need to reference through out the school year that is my Objective. How I do that is my Strategy.
My Objective remains the same, “provide important information for future reference”. Strategies can vary. Strategy One may be the traditional paper handout. Strategy Two may be PDF’s on a local server. Strategy Three may be collaborative document management system (Google Doc’s), and Strategy Four may streamlined custom solution (FileMaker Pro).
District’s, campuses, and trainers need to think in terms of the major Objective and most effective Strategy for them. Novelty is not the issue. The latest Technology Toy is not the issue. Being innovative for creativity’s sake is not the issue. The issue is providing important information for future reference. What needs to be done and the best way to do it. We need to provide important information for future reference and the best way for us to do that is…
Traditional start of the year training for faculty and staff is typically nothing more than a brief introduction of limited information hoping for lasting results. The sessions tend to overload the participants with information and then assume that everyone comprehended everything and that everyone knows everything that they need to know. I can not remember how many times that I have heard the proclamation after an introductory session, “Now you are trained”. True Professional Development should include pre-information, initial introduction of information, and a continual deposit of information available 24/7.
Edutopia addresses an idea for Administrators concerning Staff Presentations. Their idea is a digital copy of the upcoming event.
Providing a digital copy of the upcoming staff meeting to be reviewed independently could alleviate some stress throughout the building. If you are looking for feedback from staff members, include a Google Form or host a Google Hangout to answer any questions. Source
Thinking of all the upcoming staff presentations to soon take place it would be great for Administrators and Presenters to move beyond the pre information and presentation information to actually include a permanent depository of information available to participants. Professional Development and Training would greatly be enhanced by participants being able to have continual and updated information presented in the start of the year PD.
A continual presence would move beyond the typical email or paper handouts. Even placing PDF’s on a District Server is better than paper handouts and emails, but why not kick it up a notch. Google Docs allows users to create shared folders and those are even better, but let’s move it up one more notch by using Google “Sites”. Administrators and Presenters can upgrade their traditional start of the year trainings by creating Google Sites for participants to have a continual resource to refer to as the need arrives.
One such depository of resources that I have begun is located here. EduTechie Resources.