Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Web 2.0 Buffet

I titled my workshop "Integrating 21st Century Technology Tools into your Curriculum." Now I just have to figure out what to include. I'll have 6 hours with a small group of inservice teachers. There are so many tools to choose from. Last night I put the question out on Twitter and got many different responses. However, all agreed that there needs to be time for participants to "play" with the tools. There is only so much you can do in 6 hours.

On my way home from a very ineffective training session, it occurred to me that I could offer teachers a "buffet" of technology tools to play with. I could briefly describe and demo (very briefly) several different tools and then provide people with walkthroughs (printed direction sheets) and screencasts (video explanations) and let them choose what to focus on. Some people might want to spend the whole time on one tool, others might like to play around with several. I could also incorporate some conversations midway through the "play" time, so that teachers could get ideas from each other and share their discoveries.

What do you think? Does this sound like a feasible idea? Would you enjoy a workshop like this? Do you have any resources that I could use for the workshop? Have you ever tried anything like this? Please help me out here. I greatly value your opinion.


Image Citation: Vincos' Photostream. Web 2.0 Landscape. 9/16/07. [] 3/20/08.


diane said...

I love the buffet idea, since not everyone comes with the same experience or expectations.

Could you group them so that people test-driving similar apps are near each other? This would also make your mingling and trouble-shooting easier.

Be sure that you have handout or links to examples of how the tools are used, especially if you can show exemplary lesson plans or site that utilize them.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think you need to know the experience level of your audience. Are these total newbies? Even if they're not, too many tools will probably be overwhelming.

I do one and two day workshops sometimes. What I find is that in one day I can teach two tools well (example ComicLife and iMovie but substitute those with whatever you want) and then coming back from break and lunch I sneak in others tools like web sites or other tech tools. This gets people to come back on time...for some it's just exposure but the advanced users sometimes pick it up and use it right away.

I always try to make everything directly applicable to the classroom so it can be taken back and allow time for planning as well as the play time you're already including.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Mathew that you should narrow the "buffet options." When I teach Web2.0 tools to staff I always try to cover a couple in a thorough way for the newbies, then I also sprinkle in some exposure to other tools (like using examples that encorporate maybe another web2.0 tool) so the advanced users can just take off.

I have found that when the newbies are frustrated NO ONE is happy in a training session. So if the group is a mixed group then you will definitely need to give some direct instruction on one or two tools.

:-) Good Luck!

Liz B Davis said...

Mathew and Coachk - I hear what you are saying, but this just occured to me. What I really am teaching is How to learn a Web 2.0 tool on your own - not actually the tool itself. Isn't that the most valuable lesson.

Diane - I love the idea of grouping people together by interest. And I will definitely provide resources for classroom use. Although, I also think that it is important to find the usefulness of a Web 2.0 tool for yourself before you can really think about how to bring it to your students.

Anonymous said...

I would love to attend a training like this. The only suggestion I have is to the tools grouped for a morning and then an afternoon session. That way you can break up the "play" time with the direct teach time and as Mathew said people will be more likely to come back from lunch on time if they know a new tool or tools are being introduced and they are missing the intro.

Julia said...

I think "play" time is a great idea!
Here is a link to my list of some "other" tools. These might be good for play time on Web2.0 tools.

Lee Ann Spillane said...

Hi, Liz,
I love the buffet option, but do see how it could get overwhelming. In think you could demo something quickly as you said and then have them experiment. Could you structure the buffet line so to speak, so that that teachers could read/watch the tool screencast demo, then try it, then discuss what it could be useful for... before moving to the next stop? Then provide a choice time after everyone has had one tour of the buffet? Just thinking. I think Diane is onto something with grouping folks--sort of like "centers for grown ups" ... wouldn't it be neat to have group or center leaders...what I would call "go to people" from the audience that profess experience? Just a thought. Will you have narrated screencasts set up ahead of time and available online? I think that's a great idea & if you could keep them to under 2 minutes folks could really get to playing quickly. What a neat day you're going to have! Sounds fun.

scmorgan said...

I think it's a great idea. Matt Montagne also grouped his teachers by discipline and had them create a group project based on a tool of choice. Good luck and keep us posted!

Ann Oro said...

Six hours gives you a nice amount of time to work. I see what you're attempting. The only problem is that if they've never seen the tools it takes longer to demo than you might think. Maybe do a demo of two or three tools and let them choose to stay with a group the whole day or move between the three groups. If you didn't read what I tried back in February, stop at my blog. The entries were all made in February. Can you write another post giving some more details of where you're thinking of heading? For example, which tools do you think you'd like to showcase?

I think it all depends on how they perceive the day of training. They should probably know in advance that it will be a self-directed workshop with you facilitating through their questions.

Anonymous said...

Mathew's right - you need to know the experience level of your audience. I would do a survey prior to the session. Here is example of the results from one of my surveys where I target the questions specially to assess their current level and I ask them to be totally honest in completing so that I can design the course to meet their needs.

Look I would love educators to teach themselves the tools however we have to accept there needs to be scaffolding to meet their needs. My favourite analogy is learning to drive a car and how you are gradually moved from total dependence on the driving instructor to independence as you improve.

If your participants don't have basic computer skills e.g. saving to folders, being able to easily locate folders on computers, minimal experience and ability using desktop applications, low confidence (never downloaded applications or set up accounts) you are going to have to provide a very structured workshop where you do walk them through because for these types of participants it's all new territory that's very overwhelming.

The level of support needed and how much you will need to explain how the tools can be used in the classroom will also be determined by the type of adopter they are. My experience though is most really want the why I would use it before they are shown the tool.

For new people I would target tools that they are most likely to have a strong desire to use in their personal life. You want them to want to play and spend time in their personal life to learn. Which can be hard work with some. Most facilitators of workshops find that newbies relate really well to digital story telling so this is what I would target. Most like the idea of how they can create movies from their own photos and will spend hours learning. You can then easily link that to locating and downloading movies from the Internet that they can use in their classrooms.

I also like the way that Darren, Robin and Kelly use Open PD which would be a useful way of modeling for your participants to show them the connectivity of using these tools.

Sorry Liz really long comment that probably would have been explained better in a post.

Anonymous said...

I like your idea of a buffet, but maybe not an "all you can eat" - lol. I know from trainings that I have done, the less is better. Not only giving time to have the teachers play to figure it out for themselves, but after the play time, give time for them to think of ways they can use it. I have many teachers say to me, this is great, but how can I use it in the classroom?? Maybe you can survey the teachers before hand to find what they are looking for in technology and target Web 2.0 tools that can do that. Although with Web 2.0 many in my buildings don't know about it enough to have an idea of what they are looking for. Good Luck! :)

john said...

Hi Liz,

The buffet idea is neat. I cannot help but think that some participants would be overwhelmed with such a rich culinary selection.

Diane's suggestion of grouping like minded individuals is good as well as Mathew's suggestion of focusing on a couple of tools that allows the participants to really sink their teeth in to the product. And as both CoachK and Mathew suggest higlight an additional tool here and there. They could be like mini desserts on your menu.

I like to focus on the core tools such as blogs, wikis and podcasts. They are stable, reliable and seem to have longevity.

As far as blogs go I love Wordpress due to its capacity to create elegant static pages in addition to the blog. Many teachers and academics love that. New tools such as WebNode and Google Sites are also exciting teachers at the moment.

If you show them a couple of the core and stable tools you could then spice things up with the embedding of useful widgets or embedded podcasts perhaps.

Anyway, I have lots of resources you can download from these pages:

Web 2.0 Workshop Resources

Feel free to use them for ideas if you wish.

Cheers, John

The Online Teacher said...

How about this:
- Break them into teams and have each team identify an instructional problem or challenge they face
- Introduce them to different 'classes' of tools they can choose from, explaining, in general terms, what each does
- Have them work together to figure out how these tools could be used to address their issues
- Have them explore the tools together, and be there to help and guide as needed

Anonymous said...

I like your revised objective about teaching them how to learn the tools on their own.

How about a balance?

Before lunch, you show two tools in depth and after lunch participants choose interest groups around themes and work cooperatively to explore some new tools.

I'm very curious now. Please post about how it goes. Good luck.

GadgetGirl said...

I love this idea, but how many people will be in the workshop? I think the only danger is too much going on at one time. Will you have other facilitators in the workshop with you? If not, that may be something to think about because they can help you manage all the different groups testing different tools.

Dave Bircher said...


I think you should start with:

1. How many participants you have
2. Experience level

I agree with Matt, where you teach two things more in depth and then let them have time to explore something they are specifically interested in. In our school division, I recently attended a PD academy workshop and it went like this. First, two groups, one learning podcasting another Lego robotics and then we switched. One hour each. In the p.m., we had time to learn a tool we were specifically interested in. Some did Moviemaker, others GPS, etc. The beginning and part way through were time devoted to lecture from instructors and open discussion.

I guess you could use a format like this or a more guided session with Web 2.0 tools from the net as well.

I hope this helps!


Carrie said...

How about a Web2.0 scavenger hunt?

Have the participants move through the 'buffet' and complete tasks with each tool. Since Web2.0 tools can be integrated, it could start with a single uniform task - such as create a blog - and then participants could move through the other components and link their work to the blog. This way, too, they have a web based take-away they can continue to work on at home/school.

This could lead to an advanced session, as well, such as RSS feeds, podcasting, online training tools, etc.

loonyhiker said...

If it was me, the huge buffet would be overwhelming. If there was a way to group certain tools together so that I could pick one in that category to try out, I might not be so overwhelmed. Also, if there were examples for each one so that I could see what it should look like, I could pick the one that I liked best. And if there was a list of instructions to follow so I didn't have to wait on you to help me if you are helping someone else, I might not get so frustrated. These are just some ideas from me.

etalbert said...

I like the buffet idea too. With 6 hours, you should be able to set the context, provide examples and give time to explore and sign-up to some tools.
I have done a couple of presentations to teachers and principals. I designed a basic case-study ppt that I went through in 45-60 minutes with questions.
I also prepared my learning 2.0 journey with links to the online tools I feel are potentially most useful as a text to guide later exploration.

I think the idea of some general learning 2.0 and teaching 2.0 information first and some subject specific information to make the connection to the classroom is also important.

The issue for teachers is how immediately relevant and easy to use the applications will be. It is necessary to show an authentic purpose for use and how the use of the tool will be sustainable without being contrived.

Stuart Ciske, Ph.D. said...

Buffet means too much to eat and leaves one with indigestion.

I think the experience factor is great idea to glean - you could us Survey Monkey for participants to fill out a short questionnaire on their experience with Web 2.0 tools.

I took the following before I took an Intel Teach Program class (Essentials):

Feel free to use it or parts - author has given permission for us to use and promote.

If I was in your position, I'd probably focus on 2-4 most common tools (blogs, twitter, RSS and Google Docs) and teach/guided practice for part and then apply to curriculum (play) for rest.

I am trying to revamp, with permission, a short course @ijohnpederson created for nOObs to learn Web 2.0 tools - take a look here for more info.

I am revamping to do the same (30 minutes a week for 12 weeks) to introduce administrators to Web 2.0 tools. I am taking @ijohn's stuff, doing a bit of modifying and then having the admins post a reflection piece on a blog site as to how they could use in their jobs. I am in very early stages of this.

So, to wrap - target 3-4 representative and common used tools - demo - show how teachers can use it - have the participants create or do it and then let them play by applying to their curriculum or job needs.

Hope this helps

Stuart Ciske

Liz B Davis said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. Clearly, most of y'all are not digging the buffet. I hear what everyone is saying. Introduce a few things, give people time to experiment, introduce a few more. I get it and, I will probably end up doing it that way in the end.

I was just trying to imagine a different PD scenario, where we don't protect and handhold our students through it all. Where we give them a small taste and try to encourage risk taking and failure. An experience where "breaking it until it is fixed" is the goal... Just my thoughts. Trying to get outside the box.

To answer some of your questions, the first time I do this workshop it is likely to be a small group and I will not know who they are or what experience they have until they show up.

It isn't until May. You'll have to stay tuned to find out what happens.

Thanks again.

Durff said...

I think it is a great idea! You do have to be sure the participants are not expecting entertainment al la Presentation 1.0 however. If they are, they will not want to participate and the past laid plans...Only you know the audience, Liz. Are they ready for self-directed learning?

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a buffet pd session, but I would worry about the less confident and less inclined teachers. Is there some way they could link a tool(s) to something they would currently be doing in their classrooms. Then the learning would be more meaningful for them.

MrsAdam said...

SOoooo how did it turn out? Did you go with the buffet theme or did you revamp it? Do tell!