I’ve just spent two amazing days at the South West Sydney Region Inspire Innovate Conference. The best word I can use to describe how I feel right now is ‘buoyant’. Not only did I get to meet a whole bunch of fellow teachgeeks, but in terms of food for thought, I had a binge session. To begin with, I’m going to jot down three little things that I want to do/change after having my head filled with lots of stuff. I could probably make a list of 20, but I’ll keep it short and doable. Then I’m going to have a stab at another blog post that’s going to scratch an itch that’s been emerging over the last two days.
So, here goes.
Three Little Things
1. Peer Coaching: A great presentation by Pip Cleaves on peer coaching really hit the spot with me. Like most people, I work in a school filled with teachers who have a diverse range of tech skills. PL is a tough thing. My current school is at least making at effort to differentiate tech PL, but even that seems a bit ineffective. I think peer coaching will be a fantastic way to provide personalised, just in time PL, utilising a distributed leadership model. It ticks all the boxes for me so far. I’m going to learn more about it and look at whether it would be a suitable fit for our school – I reckon it will be.
2. Adobe Captivate: I’ve been putting off the DIY Captivate training for a while now, but today’s session with Laurens Derks was the boot up the backside that I needed to put it on the ‘holiday learning’ agenda. I can see real potential here for not only creating inclusive, supportive learning and assessment resources, but also to streamline assessment processes and make them more time efficient. As an aside, I think one of the things that really made this session stand out was that the presenter had lots of ready made resources which he shared (giving him both credibility and kudos as a ‘sharer’!). Also, the fact that he provided resources for us to dip into for just in time support while giving us time to explore the software on our own made a real difference in terms of relevance and thus engagement. This session was valuable not only from a content perspective but from a metacognitive one as well.
3. Toontastic: So an app is just a tool. I get that. But this was one that I came across during the two days that I think could be really powerful in my classroom. Things that are great about this app are: It has a nice narrative scaffold; There’s the option for kids to draw their own pictures or use pre-drawn graphics/animations – inclusive!; I can see it has the potential to encourage some really good conversation about scripting/planning text, as well as speech clarity/volume etc; you can connect beyond the classroom to view videos from all over the world and submit your own for others to see. Overall, a great app that I’m really looking forward to using in my classroom to stimulate literacy learning.
So they’re three little things that I think I can easily do/change as a result of my two wonderful days at Inspire Innovate. The one other thing that I learnt is that I need to regularly surround myself with people who ‘get it’. My previous post about the digital divide in teacherland perhaps hinted at the frustration I was starting to feel by encountering a few too many “can’t do” people. Being in a room with a huge number of “can do” people and seeing how they’re dealing with the “can’t do” people was the perfect antidote for this frustration.
Yay for teachgeeks.