Busy as Can Be? Time for Online #EdTech PD!

Cheesy, I know.  I can’t help myself if there’s a good rhyme to be made!

blizzard

Photo taken by Al Camardella Jr.

If you’re reading this from my part of the world, you’ve had more snow days than you can count, too. And it’s only the beginning of February!

Mix that with retreats, conferences, calamity days, Digital Citizenship Day, make-up games, tutoring students, meetings, teaching, grading, the other 300 things on a teacher’s plate each day, and oh yea, your personal life… and where in the heck do you have time to fit any educational technology professional development?

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been holding monthly Lunch & Learnswhere teachers bring their lunch to the library to learn about (or refresh their memory on) something edtech. We’ve had a session on tools for collaboration in the classroom, DyKnow,  and every other month is dedicated to our new LMS: Schoology. Based on availability and pre-existing events on the school calendar, there would have only been a couple of weeks between the January and February Lunch & Learn sessions.  I just couldn’t add that additional stress to people, or myself, right now in the midst of the overwhelming schedules and make-up schedules. I couldn’t cancel the February session either.

What to do?

In the spirit of the students using Schoology to make up snow days, I decided to put the February “Lunch” & Learn (Schoology Analytics and Student Completion Rules) online in the teachers’ Schoology PD course. I still sent the pre-survey to teachers, asking them to complete it by a certain date, so I could have the material ready based on their needs. I took a screencast of the usual presentation and how-to’s I would have shown on a big projector screen.  At the points I would have normally had teachers stop to do something on their own tablet (tablet PC), I asked teachers to pause the video and do the task themselves in one of their Schoology courses. I included the normal links to resources and added a discussion board for them to ask questions and share experiences since they wouldn’t have the opportunity to discuss face to face.  I also included a brief online screencast “tutorial” of the course. At the end there was a five question quiz to make sure teachers had actually “attended” and understood the content. Finally, the session ends with a post-survey as always.

Lucky for us we had another snow day and I was able to get everything posted and made available to the teachers a day early. Instead of one lunch period on a certain day, they now have the entire month of February to complete the session and receive credit for “attending” the Lunch & Learn. There have been about 15-20 out of 45 teachers attend each face to face session thus far.  Nine people have already completed the online session, and they still have three weeks to go! I’ll have to wait until the end of the month for the feedback to gauge how well this format worked for them.  If an overwhelming majority really liked this format, it might be something to think about for the future.  At the very least, I hope it alleviates the stress of making another meeting during this busy time while still getting the same PD time.

Click to view the screencast how-to overview of the online session on screencast.com.

The video Lunch & Learn session:

Have you taken or prepared an online edtech course before? What did you think?

Tech To You Later!
-Katie

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