I am beginning to feel that at last the ball is rolling. As Paul Kelly once sang…from little things big things grow. If you follow this blog you will know that after a particularly frustrating techie brekkie, I decided to return to basics. To stop trying to inspire my staff with new and exciting tools but to use our time together in a more supportive way. I had realised that just because I am fascinated and inspired to learn for myself, does not necessarily mean that everyone else is, or indeed able to.
I started by inviting the staff to my Wednesday morning homework club. This is where a large band of Year 5 students join together to share, collaborate and blog together. My idea was that by inviting the teachers to join with us, they could see that we are all learning together, that often the students know best and that web 2.0 literacy is a steep learning curve for us all. Essentially I took this idea from the work of Silvia Martinez, who I had heard speak during ACEC2010 and her work in the Generation Yes Project.
So I was interested to read this week from The Innovative Educator the following: Having students partner with, or teach teachers how innovative tools can enrich learning can prove to be an effective strategy in teacher professional development. Who better to support this learning than the students using the technology in their classrooms? Not only is this model meaningful and relevant to teachers, but it also provides students with an authentic audience to share their learning and ideas, and empowers them to become leaders in their schools.
This Wednesday was our first session and three staff came. Two used the time to set up RSS feeders, so they could read other teachers’ blogs. While one worked on a new idea for a SMARTboard file. Following that, today one teacher excitedly told me that she had used glogster with her whole class for the first time. I know of another who is now using storyjumper and yet another who wants to start a class blog.
This week, I was also involved in a joint presentation at my school, Pru and I called it ‘Blogging in the classroom, why you should get on board’ we presented to all the staff from Kindi to Year 12. Essentially we had twenty minutes to ‘sell’ our story that blogging in Year 5 is an amazing way to connect, extend, collaborate and inspire our students.
The following day two staff members told me they had now started their own class blogs that very night, Year 1 and Year 2 are in the pipeline. Two other teachers are seriously considering developing personal blogs. Even more exciting is that a K to 12 blogging portal may well be a reality sooner rather than later.
So there you go, from little things, big things will always grow. We may not be conquering the world of technology yet, but we are well and truly on our way! And this has to be a good thing for us, both as teachers and learners.