Saturday, November 19, 2005

teacherSmart Nov Workshop and Network Learning Model

Well the past week has been very busy running the teacherSmart November workshop drafting a network learning funding submission for the Illawarra Institute and meeting with managment to discuss plans for professional development and the pros and cons of blogging, plus lots of other jobs.

There was excitment and enthusiasm from the teachers about implementing web 2.0 technologies such as blogger, delicious, flickr etc. The general concensus being I CAN USE THIS!

Not sure what I am saying from some expressions ;-)

Gabrielle from professional development sets up her first blog.


Check out Joanna's photos of workshop

We are looking to implement these web 2.0 technologies as part of a network learning model that focuses on the ongoing tracking, sharing and promulgating of teacher outcomes AFTER they do teacherSmart professional development and network/ learn from each other. The project teacherSmartConnect will use network learning technologies and practices (eg. Flickr Utilising Blogs, social software and RSS). The Network learning approach will enable the transfer of knowledge, skills and information between teachers, management and policy setters throughout the organisation.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Network Learning Face to Face- Open Fridays

We will soon be trialling a different approach to Professional development having a weekly informal 'open' Friday at the TLRU with all teachers interested in blended and elearning technologies being able to come together and collaborate ideas, skills and resources. The TLRU staff will offer full support but importantly it will offer Illawarra Institute staff the opportunity to network with their peers, learn from other and have access to the great TLRU resources. This will be recorded as a Professional Development Activity.

In particular the TLRU looks forward to working with Dapto IT to implement systems and technology, to develop a self sustaining Professional Development Network of teachers to facilitate communicating and sharing ideas and innovations that benefit the entire organization. Also to promulgate the achievements and outcomes of teacher work to the community and industry.

Focus on the outcomes?

The outcomes
At the end of the of a 3 day teachersmart workshop we want maximum return ROI, we want our teachers to walk away with:
  • The Awareness, confidence in their own abilities, and the skills and knowledge to source utilize and develop eLearning resources.

  • The desire to become active participants of an online network of teachers to exchange ideas and information, to work with the technologies, to promote the endless use of new and exciting resources (peer to peer).
These learning outcomes will provide teachers with the sustainable skills to be able to cope with change and empower themselves, their colleagues and their students with technology.

Learning from each other

Collaborating and working in groups and Show and Tell

OK I have a number of posts that have been sitting in draft format which I want to publish, in particular I am interested in effective professional development techniques that people are using.

TeacherSmart workshops adopt a collaborative group based learning approach during in exploring technologies.
To begin, the group discusses and sets boundaries with a limited number of easy to use technologies to prevent innovation overload. As a group we brainstorm how these might be most effectively used.

For example each team member in the group is given the task of exploring a new technology (eg. flickr, using a digital camera, sourcing materials from creative commons), based on a desired agreed learning outcome.

We encourage playing with the technology as a group - for example figuring out how the audio recorder works and how to best utilize it.

If the group is all working on the same project each team member is asked to develop specific activities that, when combined, achieve the learning outcomes for the group.
We suggest advanced teachers support others and intermediate users work together so that less confident teachers can have more access to Teaching and Learning Resource Unit (TLRU) trainers.

At the end of the day the group has a show and tell. This is the exciting stage in that everybody gets to show what they have achieved.

It is possible to cover a large variety of technologies in a short space of time and this technique instills confidence. Teachers can learn from each other and follow up on what interests them after the workshop through networking with their peers or coming into the TLRU at a later date.

Professional development? Where we are going?

Engaging to Empower the Basic to Intermediate Skilled Teacher through Network Learning
In my mind the major challenge is to empower the greater majority of teachers with basic to intermediate skills new to eLearning

To initiate these outcomes Teachers with basic to intermediate skills have been traditionally supported in their first steps with professional development for example:

  • Workplace training
    Trainers go out to workplaces and show and train teachers how to utilize useful technologies such as audio and svideo within the workplace

  • Workshops
    We have advertised and provided timetabled specific professional development programs where teachers with basic to intermediate skills can visit to learn about using critical technologies such as a digital camera, Microsoft Outlook and Word

  • Online courses
    Teachers can empower themselves with information and skills and work through at their own pace.
Learning success is often measured by the transfer of knowledge and skills in the workshop or through a Learning Managment System within a structured framework and allocated timeframe. The measure of success being positive or negative feedback on the PD evaluation form.

In the future the focus wil be on THE OUTCOMES over time; beyond the professional development through incorporating a new networked learning approach to professional development, the premise being:
  • Train and support a teacher to manage technology and network with peers and they will be empowered.
  • Actively engage with teachers following professional development to track their progress and promulgate the outcomes of their work

The TLRU is constantly researching to keep ahead of technology. The pace of change in technology is relentless, and there are limited resources for Professional Development. We are looking at strategies that will enable us to:
  • Leverage the latent skills and knowledge of innovative TAFE teachers
  • Provide systems and technology to facilitate communicating and sharing ideas and innovations that benefit the entire organization.

Questions include how we can share innovation, knowledge and improve upon it. If the innovation is useful it will flourish, otherwise it will not be adopted.

This is a subject that I look forward to exploring further on this blog.

The Challenges

OK, it's been a busy past couple of months trying to get 'product' out the door at the TLRU. In particular the new version of teacherSmart. Time to focus on PROCESS, in particular network learning. I'm posting some of the context of my thinking for what I want to achieve with a networked learning approach for me as an individual and in my professional role at TAFE.

From my point of view The Challenges we face as educators:

  • Fast pace of change in technology – keeping up with the changes, recognition that it is relentless. The latest version!

  • Knowledge and Understanding – of the benefits of technology for teaching and how to use it. How do I learn and cope, if I am to use technology The challenge for basic to intermediate users.

  • Time – Teachers lack of time to investigate and learn new technologies and about the possibilities. They need quick fix solutions and support, from organisations like the TLRU or their peers.
  • Accessing training, equipment and information, and knowing where to get help, what my peers doing?

I'll use this blog to record my thoughts on how we address these issues with a networked learning approach. Comments, ideas appreciated.