Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

This first time I ran a PD was last year at Learning 2 Asia, it was only a quick one-hour teacher-led workshop but it was still something new to me. What I learned from this experience was that everything needs to be structured and intentional and that there has to be time or sharing, reflection, and working together to help generate ideas for educators to take away something they can use to improve their own practice.

Whenever educators go to PD (Professional Development) we always want something we can take away and use the next week or the next unit. That was how we began to approach this project, by giving educators time to plan and create something they can use shortly thereafter. This was something that we felt necessary to be included while we were thinking about the learning experiences and the idea of promoting collaboration. The second thing that we thought about when planning was the idea of agency and how to promote agency through PD. I have been to a couple of PD opportunities through my school where we choose beforehand what we want to inquire into and follow that road with educators from other schools. I believe that this increases engagement with the material just like we do with our students right? 

So we created a final project that gives educators both, time to collaborate and an opportunity to create something to use in their own schools.

Our final project outline

The challenge then arose about how do we allow for educator agency but still promote collaboration on a larger scale, through planning reflection and closing protocols we hope to accomplish this. We chose these protocols and reflection experiences for a few reasons:

  1. They help to show protocols that can be used in any classroom, hence, promoting thought about what experiences these protocols would work well for.
  2. To allow for opportunities to collaborate and seek feedback face to face.
  3. To introduce online tools to help facilitate digital collaboration and introduce new methods of using tools for students. 
  4. To achieve ISTE standards for educators

We chose the topics to explore in the PD sessions because we felt they were important takeaways for us from Course 3, and also that they allowed for lots of time to creating, seeking feedback on, and reflecting on. I particularly enjoyed learning about digital hierarchy and how we display information and thought that it is important for others to learn about this. I have always been interested in learning about how the environment impacts student learning. The media we are presented with is no less part of that environment and teachers need to be cognizant of how they present information to the class in visual form. We all decided to expand on this section for our PD section (the link to the presentation is below the picture).

Our extended section slideshow.

Comments, comments, comments.

Working collaboratively while we are not at the same time or place does have a few challenges when it comes to talking live to each other while working across three time zones. We collaborated using Google docs, slides and mail to generate ideas, give feedback, tweak the wording, decide on resources and think about the flow of the sessions. There were a lot of comments, lots of resolving, and lots of emails. We had a couple of FaceTime calls with one or the other but I think that Boramy was the hub of this project as she was geographically in the middle of Mike and I.  I was skeptical at first of being able to design a project without meeting face-to-face and although I still prefer being in the same room, with a little organization, technology makes us pretty close.