This weekend I reviewed the K12 Online Conference presentation, More Than Cool Tools, by Brian Lamb, Alan Levine, and D’Arcy Norman. Below are my take away from the session and how it applies to my professional situation. I used the provided Professional Development Template to reflect on the presentation, and plan to submit it for salary advancement workshop points.
Once the K12 Online Conference PD Database is available, I have also submitted will be submitting my reflection to the K12 Online Conference PD Database.
After watching the video More Than Cool Tools, I’ve reflected on the Web 2.0 tools I’ve chosen to endorse in our district. In 2004 blogs, wikis, and RSS were available. In the Spring of 2007 blogs, wikis, and RSS were just taking off in my district. Partly because I’m not an early adopter when it comes to the tools I choose for the professional learning opportunities that I offer our staff. I see it as an investment when I create professional learning objects. I want to be sure it is truly beneficial in the classroom and not just a novelty. I don’t want to waste the teacher’s time, or “firehose” them with the ever increasing tools out there. I go to my learning network to see what tools others are using, and how they have successfully applied the tools to the classroom. Many of the verbs mentioned in this presentation are things I consider when selecting tools. As mentioned in the presentation, Web 2.0 tools come and go overnight, so I try to choose tools that have stood the test of time, which in the Internet world is not long, and still just a shot in the dark. I’m familiar with many of tools mentioned. Some of the tools I’m supporting in our District include Edublogs, Wikispaces, Bloglines, Flickr, Moodle, United Streaming, ePALs, Google Docs, Skype, Voice Thread, Picnik, Podomatic, Audacity, Feedburner, Delicious, SlideShare, BubbleShare, iTunes, and Creative Commons. I share all my learning objects online, licensed with Creative Commons, including Moodle professional development courses for our teachers, screencast tutorials, handouts, and online resources.
Living in a constant construction zone is a phrase that I connected with from the session. The tools are constantly changing to meet the needs of users and include new features, which is good. This has caused me to reflect on the way I instruct and model the use of technology for teachers. When preparing, I visualize classroom application and the management issues that need to be addressed. I spend a lot of time creating how-to guides with specific, numbered steps. But these learning objects can become outdated in just days. I need to model how I learn new tools. Opportunities arise during workshops in which a teacher asks how to do something I haven’t tried yet, and I model then how to find the answer. Teachers need to be able to deal with the constant state of change of Web 2.0 tools. As David Warlick said in his keynote, one of the most important tasks we can complete as educators is to show our students how to be learners. I need to model more for the teachers the strategies I use when learning a new tool. Up to this point the purpose of my blog has been basically informational. I now see a reason for using it for reflecting on my own learning.