Today was my last ToD (teacher only day) of the current crop. And my brief for today was as follows: "Be inspirational." So no pressure then! As I reflect on what has been a great, if exhausting and intense week. I realise that I have had the responsibility of making the case for elearning, re-assuring the terrrified, stretching the converted and envigorating the lethargic. And on the whole I can see that I have done just that. When a teacher only day is just you, the trick is to pitch it just right, to engage and not alienate all of the audience, no matter what level they are at.
Today I was working with an elite team, a school within a school I called it. These 12 teachers are spearheading a 1:1 laptop programme in their classrooms. The day started fabulously with the principal encouraging the staff to "smash" what was established, to be brave, to be innovative. Then it was my turn to follow that and then inspire them. We talked about thinking big, I cautioned them against simply digitising their existing pedagogy. I then spent some time sharing with the team some of the innovative collaborative and problem solving elearning work I have undertaken with different teachers at different schools over the last couple of years. This really got them going. It got the going so much that I was asked to extend my session. They re-wrote the agenda for the day and asked me to continue by demonstrating a range of elearning tools that I use for collaboration and problem solving.
As I said the the teachers that I worked with yesterday, I am really keen on layering tasks, tools and learning opportunities and to both sets of teachers I have shown them practical examples of just that strategy. Finally, a couple of the teachers asked me how they can find time to learn how to use the tools I had been waxing lyrically about. At the time I was enthusing on a blend of Blender and the Unity Game Engine. And that is the key, teachers do not need to be masters of these tools, no more so than they have to monitor and master the state of the pencils in their class. Give the problem to the students to solve, let them own the problem, let them realise that you do not have the answer and that to solve the problem, they have to master it.
As I head into the weekend and begin to contemplate my week next week and the term ahead, I am excited to be getting back into schools to continue to "inspire" teachers to be innovative with their elearning integration. 2013 should be a great year. Keep watching this space as I document the projects that I have planned for these classrooms, the workshops and the tutorials I have in mind for 2013.