(crossposted on EdTech Blog)Last week, I had the pleasure of coordinating a Day of Discovery for 200 teachers of our district's elementary International Baccalaureate program. Our Day of Discovery included bringing in one of our best teachers, Louise M. (a DEN Star and who generously gave up one of her summer vacation days to facilitate her workshop for us -many thanks to you, Louise) AND we also had one of Discovery Education's most dynamic speakers, Brad Fountain. Discovery Ed is always very generous when we want to coordinate some type of training event and this time was no different. They not only flew Brad down from Illinois to present his keynote, Consumers To Creators; Finding The Way To Teach Today's Students, and his workshop, but they also sent 200 tote bags, posters and teacher guides.
The day began with all of the teachers gathered together in the cafeteria to hear Brad's keynote. In his keynote, Brad gives compelling reasons why teachers need to make changes to their teaching styles today and pulls in examples from so many Web 2.0 resources that the teachers couldn't write fast enough. When Brad was finished, the teachers not only clapped, but I heard a few "woots!"
From there, everyone divided into groups to attend their breakouts which included my session, Louise's session, Brad's session and lesson-plan writing faciliated by the IB manager.
Those who stayed with Brad, explored the IB theme, Sharing The Planet as they learned about our beautiful planet’s limited resources and how easy it is to incorporate resources from DE Streaming! Brad showed them 50 ways to use DE Streaming!
While with Louise, participants explored the IB theme, How The World Works and the many ways teachers could use DE Streaming science resources to create interactive assignments, quizzes and writing prompts. She also integrated those assignments with our parent-school communication portal, Edline. Teachers were shown how to incorporate those links generated by the DE Assignment Builder into their Edline pages so students could access them easily.
In my session, the teachers and I explored the IB theme, Where We Are In Place and Time. I took them on a journey through recent history incorporating DE Streaming videos, speeches and images. I also shared a few Web 2.0 resources where history lessons could become that much more relevant by using VoiceThread, BubbleComment, Bubbl.us. In addition, I was very excited to introduce our newest sharing resource, MediaShare, because now our teachers have an easy, quick method for sharing their own content and for accessing content created by other teachers in our district or content created by members of the Discovery Educator Network (DEN).
Each of us took a few minutes to introduce the Discovery Educator Network to our teachers and encourage the teachers to sign up. Since our district already uses DE Streaming, it makes perfect sense that those who are passionate about using technology in their classrooms would apply to be DEN Stars! Teachers are looking for support, staff development and resources and the DEN is the perfect place to get all that and more!
The day was scheduled tightly with 45-50 minutes for each session and we presented each session six times. The goal was for me and Louise, who were in the computer labs, to give the teachers an opportunity to explore hands-on, but it was a real challenge having the full 45 minutes each session (with everyone arriving on time, interruptions, etc.). Brad's session was not expected to be hands-on, but still 45 minutes is never enough time to reach everyone's level of experience and take them that one step farther. The three of us are so passionate about what we do and about sharing that we tend to get frustrated with the lack of time.
I think in many ways, the teachers probably felt like we were feeding them a sip of water through a fire hose. So, as I always do when presenting, I ask the teachers to invite me to their schools to present to their faculty or work with grade levels or some other creative way to reach their teachers for a larger block of time. I hope they'll take me up on it.
I can confidently say the Day of Discovery was a huge success. Everyone left with smiles on their faces and goodies in their arms. Thank you Brad, Louise and Discovery Education for making the day such a huge success! Thanks also to the principal of the school where we held the event (taking over a school building is quite a burden on a school site and the principal was most gracious), and also thank you to the 200 teachers who met us with open minds. The day was awesome!!