10 September 2011

Move It On Over

While my raison d'ĂȘtre for my current position is somewhat moot---the big Legislative deadline was in June---the simple fact is that there is still a lot of work to do. We met our directive to develop assessments (you can see them here...the very first statewide assessment system for educational technology/21st century learning goals), but some need to finish the field testing process. And all of them need some supporting tools and resources for implementation.

There's not any money to do this, mind you. So, I've been pursuing some alternative/tech-based options to develop and provide what I can. There will be a Moodle site containing a self-guided professional development course---as well as materials that others can use more widely (e.g. in-district staff development opportunities). We can do webinars and go on the conference circuit.

The nagging question in the back of my mind is whether or not anyone will use these forms of support. I can build a Moodle site, but will anyone come? Would I, if I were in the classroom this year? I've participated in a variety of online learning opportunities. And I have to admit that I would rather have a face-to-face experience. I much prefer a real-time collaborative session. I like the immediacy and spontaneity of the discussion and presentation. All of that---and I'm more comfortable being online than a lot of teachers out there.

Therefore, it's been a real challenge for me to think differently about delivering PD in an all online format. How do I make the components inviting and accessible...and not make the environment seem sterile and the learning experience lonely? How do I provide enough options so that the time teachers have to spend on professional growth is honored---and yet allow a deep enough experience so that teachers are ready to implement the assessments on their own? The fact is, the online environment is a lot more "sit and get," another issue to try and overcome. How do I "road test" a few of the offline ideas so that school or district personnel can use them with confidence?

Have you had to take your course materials from the real world into the virtual one? What did you learn along the way?

Don't forget about my new blog: Excel for Educators. It will eventually include much more than Excel in terms of applying data visualization techniques to your classroom, school, or district. Come over and check out the latest posts:
I will also be looking for guest posts for this blog. Have a tip or tool to share? Let me know.

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