As a professional, reflection takes up a large part of our lives. Active choices stem from reflective moments steering our professional learning. Ultimately that learning reflects back into our classrooms with students.
We were privileged to spend Friday with a group of K-12 teachers and student teachers at Burnaby Central. Titled “Blogathon“, it provided an opportunity to experience the world of social media through our sd41 blogs. Goals of the participants ranged from a basic understanding of communicating using social media, how it could be used to have students dialogue with each other (increasing authentic literacy skills), how it flattens the classroom by inviting experts and other schools (critical thinking), how to share information with parents and community (green friendly world), how to use blogs as a vehicle for formative assessment, how to integrate various web tools as teaching/learning workflow, how digital citizenship plays a key role today.
Beyond the basics, we looked at images and resizing (even the new copyright changes), using widgets to extend information [News Announcement, T-Countdown, Google Language Translator, MailPoet (as subscription), Gravity Forms (surveys)...]
*Written instructions can be found on our blog, under WEB RESOURCES > BLOGS > HOW TO.
Throughout the day, participants explored, created, extended comfort levels as well as shared their experiences and challenged personal thinking. What vividly stood out was the collaborative nature of learning; fully hands-on, dynamic, open, questioning and connecting. Comfort was felt in jumping over and helping others – result was empowerment of others as well as a spark that the ‘helper’ knew more than they thought. And yes, there were frustrating moments when the technology didn’t work. The experience served to provide other avenues of learning. Patience was a virtue and we had lots of chances to practice that.
Some snippets of overheard conversations:
- This is amazing… I can see how this would work in my language arts program.
- You can’t be serious – I can use the ipads with the students to go directly to the blog. This is live ideas gathering if we use Padlet on the blog.
- (eyes sparkled) I’ve been waiting for this for a long time; Gravity Forms will ‘change my life’ (in how I can assess)
- I can’t wait to teach this to my class…it’s more than I hoped for. I can use the math lesson, capture it, put it on the blog and have students discuss it on the blog.
- You mean I can actually send my news to parents automatically! What will you think of next?
- I love the web tools – picmonkey, edu.symbaloo, padlet, pixabay… They’re going to love learning these.
- There’s so much – this is so much fun. I want more.
The success of any Pro-D happens at the intersection between the relationships, environment and the desire to seek out and grow. These are growth mindset opportunities to be in an ‘ideas incubator’ to construct new knowledge, deconstruct obstacles and be re-energized on the journey.
What was your PSA day like? I would love to hear.