Earlier this year we had something at my school called Tech Time where we would meet once a week, before school or after school, to go over some tech tool or technique in the classroom. This was totally voluntary and it was something that was done before I took my position this year as tech integrationist. The problem was that it was not very well attended and eventually we had a couple instances where no one showed up. I tried moving the time around and using Google Forms to figure out the most wanted topics and the best time.
It was not an effective use of time and I feel that if something is not effective, you either change it or you get rid of it. I decided to put Tech Time on hiatus until I could find a better way to go about it. I wanted something that was an effective use of time and would focus on the student learning that is taking place in the classroom.
This next quarter we will be trying out Tech Time 2.0 which will involve me meeting with at least one teacher in a Google Hangout on Air. We will go over something that they have done in the classroom that was effective and how it was different than what they had done before. We hopefully will be able to explore the differences that the technology allowed us so others can use similar ideas in their classroom. The second half of the Hangout we will go over some new tech tool or technique to use in the classroom.
We will be using Google Hangouts on Air so that the Hangout will be recorded and automatically uploaded to YouTube so that we can share it with the rest of the staff. Other teachers could watch this when they want and whatever parts they want. I am available on demand so that if they have questions, I am there to help them work through them. The Hangouts may even be shared out publicly, depending on the preference by the teacher who is also on the Hangout. Other teachers also could join in on the Hangout and participate real time if they want.
I think this stands a great chance of being successful as there is built-in flexibility that can help us meet the needs of so many teachers. I am also hopeful that this will be combined with a simple Google Site where teachers can quickly share out things that they are trying out in the classroom. That was a big comment from our most recent full day professional development day where we focused on technology integration. Teachers really enjoyed hearing what everyone else was doing and that gave them ideas on what they could do in the classroom. The key though will be if teachers actually use this site or not. Like I said before, if something is not effective, you either change it or get rid of it. That should be a key thing when we look at lessons in the classroom or at our professional development.
Further posts will be coming as this is implemented during our 4th quarter after Spring Break.