Tomorrow afternoon, it's finally time for me to give my 3-hour workshop on standards-based grading and student motivation. I've worked a large number of hours over the last six weeks to pull together what I think is a kick-ass professional learning experience. Yes, I'm biased...but I also know what typically gets offered at conferences like this. Usually a dry Powerpoint and very little interaction. ("Absolute power corrupts. Powerpoint corrupts absolutely.")
I constructed a wiki as a companion for the workshop. I did this for two reasons. One was simply to have a simple place for people to get all of the resources, such as a digital copy of the handout and slides (which I'm not handing out), a list of books and websites I reference, and so forth. I want people to be able to focus on the thinking and learning---not the "stuff." They can go back later and easily find the title of a book or a look at a site without having to write down the URL. Also, for any "artifacts" created during the session, I can take pictures with my digital camera and place them on the site. Again, I hope that this will allow people not to have to stress out trying to capture all of the information at once. The other main reason for the wiki is just to allow the participants to contribute to the learning beyond the scope of our time together. I'll bet several people tomorrow will have resources that they want to share. What a great way for them to connect. Their knowledge is valuable and I want them to be able to show that off.
Yes, I do have a PowerPoint presentation, but it is not a series of slides for me to read off of. Some have Poll Everywhere questions with prompts for people to text message their answers. One of my favourites is for a "Pop Quiz!" activity that plays the music from the shower scene in Psycho when it comes up. There are cartoons to provoke some laughter (and discussion) and some simple quotes from the research to guide things along.
There's time built in for participants to talk, to move around, to have quiet moments to think and reflect. I've tried really hard to respect their needs as learners and differentiate the session as much as possible. There is so much I want to say and share, however, I hope that I've designed things such that this session is really about the audience needs. Hard to do when I am so passionate about what I know and want to say.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a great session---that is, people show up and are willing to dive into some good learning. I'm ready to rawk!