I’ve been thinking the last couple of months about professional development on videoconferencing. I had a nice line-up of face to face, online, and via videoconferencing workshops this fall for my schools. But since our 3 year RUS grant is over, the pressure is off to meet the PD requirements of the grant. That factor, plus the uncertainty of budgets, MEAP test stress, etc., means that I have little to no registrations for my fall professional development sessions.
So, how are my teachers continuing to learn and improve their VC practice? By doing actual videoconferences! I’ve noticed that I have several new teachers signing up for programs this year. They don’t seem to feel the need for any official / formal professional development on how to use videoconferencing in the curriculum. They are learning as they go!
As I’ve watched the Monster Match sessions this week, I have realized that carefully and well-designed VC projects can provide professional development for teachers. What are they learning in Monster Match?
- How to effectively compare similarities and differences with venn diagrams
- How to zoom the camera in on their monster
- What a wiki is and how to use it (pasting their descriptions)
- How VC can help students learn about different areas (like TX students asking our students about the color of the leaves to supplement their seasons unit)
- How to prepare questions for their partner class
So I’ve been thinking about this more. What if we deliberately designed mass projects like Monster Match and others to teach teachers how to teach 21st Century Skills, specific instructional strategies like Marzano’s research based strategies, specific effective methods for meeting state standards, thinking skills (i.e. Linda’s projects) etc. Obviously we can’t do all PD this way, but could we make a bigger dent in that direction by carefully designing our projects to meet curriculum and professional development goals? What do you think?