Learning 2.011 Takeaways Part 1

21 Sep 2011

This is the first of three blog posts about my experience at the Learning 2.0 conference.

For the second year in a row the Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai far exceeded my expectations. The opportunity to learn, share, and network provided me with a rich variety of experiences that will make me a better teacher and leader. This year the conference began each day with several 7 minute keynotes, as opposed to the traditional 30-40 minute keynote. Most of the presenters used the Pecha Kucha style of presenting. The keynotes were from teachers, professors, educational leaders, and students. Jabiz Raisdana shared his experience and growth through his personal learning network.

Learning Leaders

I participated in the Technology Leaders Cohort. Charlotte Diller and George Couros led this cohort, opening the first of our five cohort sessions by renaming it the “Learning Leaders” cohort. The underlying thought being that what we are doing isn’t about the technology, it is about the learning. The cohort was made up of about 45 leaders in various positions such as tech directors, facilitators, administrators, & teachers, from schools in Asia & North America.

The Learning Leaders cohort had several focus groups, including coaching (professional development), implementing 1:1, cloud computing, and blogging. I spent my time in the coaching group. The gains I experienced in this group were not so much about taking what we are doing to the next level, but fine tuning our PD plan. Two of the big ideas I took away from this group:

  1. We as leaders need to “build capacity” in our teachers.
  2. To do this we must cultivate relationships with our teachers.

This year we started doing professional development sessions during the school day. We run enough sessions each week so that all of our 162 teachers have at least one chance to attend. At first it seemed as though we were the only ones doing during the school day PD, but I eventually found one other school that is also doing this. Ivan Beeckmans and Jay Priebe are doing a similar training model at New International School of Thailand. NIST is doing during the school day PD, but only on Wednesdays. They have used this model for years. The first sessions of the year are for new teachers and are mandatory. Then they move on to more advanced sessions. Ivan told me that in exit interviews the teachers rave about the PD opportunities. In general, what I learned about our PD model is that we are on the right track.

Some areas I will continue to think about for our ongoing PD:

  • Make sure that it is meaningful.
  • Keep the groups small.
  • Decide what should be required, especially for new teachers.

Some ideas to consider for the future of tech integration and PD at KIS:

  • Let teachers know what we have and what it can be used for. (hardware & software)
  • Document the help we give to teachers. Review at the end of the month.
  • Make screencasts for the greatest needs and post them.
  • Use the “Lab-Site” model. Co-teach with someone while others observe.
  • Find other leaders & cover their class while they help a colleague integrate tech.
  • Experts on campus are a resource that is underused.¬†Develop and promote them.
  • Date night with your Mac, unconference model.
  • Speed geeking (example from Clint Hamada)
  • Begin listing NETS in PD.
  • Can we add some tech questions to the teacher interviews?
  • Get Ed Tech and IT into the same location. If that can’t be done, improve communication & meet together.
  • Teach the students to teach the teachers.

Some ideas for helping people to help themselves:

  • People don’t try to figure things out on their own. Teach them to use Help in the applications.
  • Make a checklist of what to do when something doesn’t work. For example:
  1. Check the cables
  2. Quit the application (command-Q) and restart it
  3. Restart the computer

*These could be turned in to questions we ask a teacher when they call us for help.