Learn, Teach, Lead

Wow! I love collaboration and learning from videoconferencing colleagues. I’ve been pondering Roxanne’s comments about learning, then teaching, then leading. She first mentioned this to me as we were working on setting up Google Docs for Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with VC this summer (affectionately termed Jazz). Now she’s taken the time to write up the theory more fully. Thanks Rox!

[There are] three phases: you as a learner, you as a teacher, and then as a leader. This is the philosphy that we have adopted in house and Ed and I conduct trainings within the region. At first we were skipping the “learner” phase and tried to get teachers to TEACH with the new technologies. We have revised that philosophy and now we conduct trainings to show teachers and tech leaders how to use the tools for their own learning. Then we will begin to work with them on how to use them with their students and eventually how to use them when they lead their own learning communities.

So today I’ve been in “Jazz” mode all day, preparing materials and meeting with the facilitators. I’ve been wondering, how are we using this idea in the Jazz training? (For more detail, you may want to review the Jazz workshop agenda.)

  • First, every morning the participants experience simulations of popular videoconference projects, including Read Around the Planet, Monster Exchange, Math Marvels, MysteryQuest, and the ASK process, complete with a Vietnam veteran interview. They experience these projects in the role of students, with each site playing the role of a classroom. They can see how the project could work with students. I think that fits into the “learner” phase first.
  • In the afternoon small group time, they design a project in teams comprised of participants from at least two locations. Here also, they use collaborative tools such as GoogleDocs and Skype to create a document describing their project. Early in the week, they have a chance to play with the tools, including camera presets, etc. on a videoconference system. This is the learner phase too I think.
  • At the end of the week, they present their project to everyone. During this time, the participants experience teaching over videoconferencing as they present and talk on camera.
  • I think these experiences prepare them to lead in creating their own projects and supporting their teachers (for coordinators who attend) in using VC. I know I’ve seen amazing increase in the use of VC by people who attend this workshop.

We are also using this idea in training new facilitators. In the facilitators meeting today we explored GoogleDocs and Skype, tools which will be used with the small group activities in the afternoon. We are also using GoogleDocs to share agendas, contact information for everyone, participant lists, and connection details. The facilitators are using the tools as a learner for themselves. In the workshop this summer, they will teach the tools. And we hope that Jazz will continue to grow and maybe next year, some of this year’s facilitators will be ready to lead their own team (3 to 4 sites).

So, what do YOU think? How do you use this pattern of learning, teaching and leading?

0 replies on “Learn, Teach, Lead”

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more about the Jazz training. As a Jazz grad from last August, I really felt enabled after not only learning more about the technology itself, but being immersed into the VC projects. I could then go back to my district and advocate the integration of this technology more confidently, especially since I had now participated in projects myself with all the participating sites.

    Not only that, I came away really feeling compelled to be a facilitator because, in fact, most of the resistance from teachers came from their own fear of knowing what to say and do and when. When you think about it, the job of the facilitator is really not the the role that gives us all the headaches. It’s the one that restores our love for this technology when we are seeing the impact (of all our behind the scens efforts to put these projects together) on student learning.

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