Tomorrow is the first PD day of the year. We have great plans for the day. The afternoon will be spent using a personal favourite format of mine – Minds on Media. Minds on media (http://mindsonmedia.ca) is a form of professional development that Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen modelled after an early learning program in the Reggio Emilio region of Italy. There are multiple stations around a large room (we are using a library) where facilitators show-off student work and connect a digital tool or two to high-yield teaching strategies. We put how-to information on hand-outs on a wiki and help teachers get started using the tool to plan lessons for their students. The great part about Minds on Media is the flexibility allowing each teacher to focus on areas that work for their classes. There are no bells, buzzers, timers. People get up, move around and rotate as they see fit. Some teachers will feel the need to see each and every station. Some teachers will sit down at one station and create their lesson for next week (or next month), knowing that if they don’t sit down and do it now, it may not happen. Different types of learners can access different resources. Teachers with experience help others. There is conversation and sharing throughout. From experience, as a facilitator at a Minds on Media, I always learn more from participants than I “teach” or share.
Our Minds on Media tomorrow will focus on on student skills and tools that will work within a 1:1 BYOD Blended Learning environment. This means tools that work on any platform (laptops, tablets, etc.), or for which there are viable alternatives for multiple platforms. We will also have a Spark demonstration and activity in the middle of our session. My favourite part about tomorrows Minds On Media is that in addition to awesome teacher facilitators we have multiple stations run by students. I am incredibly excited to see what type of discussion occurs when students are facilitating stations. The ability for a teacher to ask students directly about their experiences with specific learning activtities will certainly add value to our learning.
Below are the stations we will have running. The outlines below describe the tools, not the student skills we are focusing on. Each station connects to one or multiple student skills (from ISTE Nets). These are all described on our wiki for the day: http://midlandsecondary.wikispaces.com .
Making Movies on the iPad, iPod and Mobile Devices
Google Drive for Collaboration
Making Stop Motion with Frames
Edmodo and Remind 101
Assistive Technology on “Regular” School Computers and Personal Devices
QR Codes and Polling with Student Devices
SMART and Mobile Math
Communication Technology (flying cameras, video editing, photo)
Minds on Media allows teachers to collaborate and share within focused conversations during the only time when we are all released from classes at the same time. When run within a school and led by in-school leaders, it allows the sharing and networking to happen that leads to great projects. Sometimes teachers decide to run cross-curricular projects, or collaborate with the same/similar grade or subject teachers. This day of excitement, motivation and creativity leads to further, deeper collaboration and projects. We have multiple ongoing professional development projects running in our school which will carry the learning forward. One of our boards Information and Communication Technology IRTs, Marie Swift (@mswift) often reminds me of Dan Pink’s theory of motivation. Mastery, autonomy and purpose. This form of professional development provides opportunity for teachers to master digital tools in a very supportive environment. It also provides them the ability to use their professional judgement and choose the best strategies and tools to support their specific students and classes. Lastly, as it is connected to student skills for the 21st Century the purpose is built right into the learning.