Thursday, 12 February 2009

Techie-Breakie I - Reflection

Yesterday I took my first "Techie-Breakie" workshop for teachers. On my twitter the other day I got asked what one is; it simply is a short workshop/meeting before school to highlight ways in which the staff can use their laptops, class computers and web2.0 applications effectively.

I have planned to take these workshops weekly, running between 8.00-8.30am, however this first one went close to the school bell (which wasn't ideal, as teachers really should aim to be in their classes around 8.30am to ensure they are ready for the daily lessons ahead and building relationships with the children and parents that have arrived early at school).

The purpose of the first session was about using blogs because this year I have started three blogs for our three teams at school to share with the wider learning community successes and events of each team. The idea is that one class per week will be responsible for making a post of what they are learning in their class, or highlight an event. I am hoping that when staff see the power that an authentic audience has for student learning and how relatively easy it is to make a post, then they may feel encouraged to start their own individual class blogs. So a very brief post was made as an example to show the staff how to make a post.

I felt that I was well prepared, having made a wikipage of instructions and simple step by step handouts. It took a lot longer than expected as staff had not responded to an earlier email that was sent asking them to be a contributor/author to their team blog, along with a follow-up email that I had sent inviting them to come to the Techie-Breakie and to view the wikipage first. So the first session was spent mostly with setting up all the staff present with their Google Account, along with accepting their contributor/author invite for their team blog and then watching a demonstration of how I made the previous post and inserting an image.

How do I feel about this? Well I was actually quite pleased and went away from the session believing it was a success. It is only optional for staff to come to these workshops and out of 17 classrooms there were 11 teachers present, along with 2 student teachers, the other DP and our Principal; so 15 in total. I had a projector set up with my laptop so staff could see what steps to take, and a staff member who hadn't set up her accounts did it on my laptop for everyone to see, while I "coached" everyone else. I was able to go up to the screen and point out where they should be typing and working alongside staff that needed extra help. This was great for me, as a good coach should always be hands-off in my mind and the staff member should be doing! After the workshop was over, I made a follow-up email inviting all staff to go through the steps of what we did in the session by making a Google account, and accepting their invitation for the team blogs. I also encouraged the staff members present to go back and help our colleagues that did not come to coach them through this process.

The best warm fuzzy I got was when our assistant principal for the junior team later in the day made her first post to her team's blog. She inserted images all by herself and I coached her through using the Edit Html tabs to cut and paste the image to the correct position on the blog. I was really proud of her because she made a post with several images and text. I hope she now feels more confident using this feature and now she will be able to coach, lead and encourage the other staff in her team.

Where to next? Well my goal this term is for all teachers to make a post to their team blogs using simply text and images of an event in their classroom. From here I would like to introduce how to insert videos, slideshows, voicethread and moving images (like bubbleshare). At one of the next full staff meetings I need to recap internet safety with the staff and our responsibility to not break copyright by the correct attribution of sources.

photo credit: Beautiful Tools by Geishaboy500


Penny Ryder said...

Hi Justine,
I'm wanting to set up something like this at my school to help teachers see new ideas to integrate into the classroom. I'm going to start with lower goals - just introducing simple things in about 15 minutes. I'm thinking of connecting it to what I'm posting in Tech Tips Tuesday. Maybe I could start up a wiki with the relevant links for teachers to access after the session. Also considering making screen casts of the instructions for them to revisit. At the moment it's all in my head, but I like the idea of your "techie-breaky". Hope I find the time to get this started some time soon!
Thanks for sharing what you're doing.

Justine said...

Thanks Penny for leaving me a comment. I'm really enjoying preparing for these workshops and making pages on my wiki. It means that staff can come along and get an idea and then go and look in their own time and play with the tools. I love your Tech Tips Tuesdays and that would be a great place to start - I've made my first Jing screencast for next weeks Jing on photos.
So tune in then :)

Rachel Boyd said...

Hey Justine,
Techie Brekies really work well for my staff. I run one every Wednesday morning 8-8:30am of term.
I host all of our links and notes etc on our PD wiki and then email the staff the direct link to the page after the workshop - that way if teachers weren't able to attend then they can catch up at their own leisure, or else refresh their memory.
In my experience in running them for over 2 years now every week, my staff find it really useful if I send out a schedule of techie brekies in advance. I usually do this monthly and it advertises the date, topic, title and a short abstract of why it's a useful tool for learning etc. As our techie brekies aren't compulsory this then helps staff plan their personal and work commitments around the workshops they'd like to attend.
If you haven't already seen it, you can view it here:

Rachel Boyd