Teacher’s Digital Tools ‘Showcase’

iEmpower, iTeach, iLearn

Last night, in place of a staff meeting, we held a Staff Digital Tools ‘Showcase’. Not an Expo. Our team who organised this event, was very consciously avoiding the term Expo. We didn’t want to call it an Expo because and Expo can be seen as something driven by experts.

The aim of the Showcase was to give teachers a chance to share and learn the many digital tools that are available today. In fact, our catch phrase or motto was “iEmpower, iTeach, iLearn”. This wasn’t a techie event that put an emphasis on the technical aspects of the tools. It was a non-threatening share time. Teachers of all points along the ‘digital tools journey’ were invited to present something that works for them. Some teachers have had some early success with blogs. Some have dabbled in Twitter. Some had made a go of Edmodo in their classroom. No one had to be an expert to present – just the generosity to share what they know. Isn’t this what we expect of our students? To take a risk and have a go? We make the assumption that everyone has something to offer.

What did it look like?

We set up our school hall with tables and chairs for showcase ‘booths’. Teachers could present a tool, but everyone was able to be a participant learner too. We had 2 sessions for each digital tool. If you presented during session 1, you could then choose a tool to learn about in session 2 and vice-verse. We the following tools to choose from…

  • Edmodo – class collaboration
  • Blogs – sharing the learning
  • Twitter and Pinterest for Professional Learning
  • Literacy Web Resources
  • Mathletics – teacher tools to personalise the learning
  • Explain Everything App and the Flipped Classroom

We have had some terrific feedback already. Those who were tentative about it before the event, were commenting on how the feeling of the afternoon was very easy-going but enthusiastic at the same time! Some other feedback was along the lines of “when are we doing this again?”

It all points to this sort of learning as being the most authentic and effective. Professional learning that is self driven and inquiry based is always going to beat the guru standing at the pulpit delivering a message from on high.

Finding Your Learner’s Voice (Becoming Globally Connected)

Here are some great thoughts about teachers giving themselves the liberty and validity to tweet or blog their own ideas. In a very short video, you can see how a blog works and you’ll quickly see why classes have adopted this to communicate their learning…

http://vimeo.com/416476

Then, pair this thought with the new found power in a teacher’s or student’s global voice. Twitter can be included in this discussion, as well as Blogs. If you were wondering “What would little ‘ol me be able to tell the world?”, then watch this next video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xcmI5SSQLmE

I urge teachers and classes to either look at beginning with Twitter or Blogging (or both). Now is a very good time to dip the toe in. Teachers and students are exploring this potent connectedness all over the world right now.

If you’re wanting to dip your toe into Twitter – keep in mind that there are two ways of going about this. The first one is for professional learning and connecting with other educators. Fabulous professional reading can be found in Twitter. The second is to share the learning that’s happening in your class. The two approaches have different audiences and should be set up with this in mind. If you want a class Twitter account, set it up with the appropriate name (possibly the class name @address). If you’re setting it up for professional learning, I’d set it up with your own name (or nickname) in mind. And if you’re setting up two accounts, then you can manipulate both accounts on your phone or device, no problem! I switch between the @StAgathasPS and my own twitter account (@amcd72) all the time, depending which audience I want to tweet to. And it’s not that difficult.