Even though I played the role of facilitator and presenter on those days, I not only got to see learning happen for almost everyone there but I also learned many things myself!
For me, any day that I learn something is counted as a good day!
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, we participated in CampInspire, where teachers learned, explored, and created using Promethean ActivInspire. (We have pictures to share!).
On Thursday and Friday of this week, we participated in SMARTcon12, where teachers learned, explored, and created using SMARTboard Notebook. (We have pictures to share!).
I have been to several workshops and trainings for both Promethean and SMART before, but I still learned about things I never knew I could do with both products before.
We followed the same format for both mini-conferences. On Day 1, participants were able to choose which sessions they wanted to attend. We had session descriptions to help them choose, as well as a "Two Feet" rule (if you find out a session is not what you thought it would be, feel free to use your two feet and leave to go to another session). On Day 2, participants were given a chance (and time) to use some of the things they had learned the day before to work to create, experiment, and try things out. There were locations for people of similar grade levels or subjects to work in the same area so collaboration and sharing of ideas could take place.
On Day 2 of both sessions, I walked around with a Bloggie or a Flip Camera asking people to tell me at least one thing they learned, an A-Ha moment, or something that really stood out to them. After repeated reassurrances that the videos would not be posted but just used for our group to review, people were excited about sharing what they had learned ... most people even had trouble picking just one thing to share!
I will not post the videos, since I promised I would not, but I will share some of the reoccuring themes from both sessions:
- the ability for participants to CHOOSE which sessions to attend
- people who were just starting out enjoyed the sessions focusing on the basics
- people who had been using the product enjoyed the sessions that went beyond the basics
- the format that was used allowing for learning and doing
- "There were so many things I did not know that I could do with ________" (insert Document Camera, sound, SMART, ActivInspire ...)
- having lots of people around to answer questions
- being able to work with others who teach the same level or area
The more I reflect on the learning that happened for me and for these teachers, the more I wonder how we can use the things we learned from these experiences to help our students ....
I guess the focus should not only be on what I can do with a certain product, but how I can use the things I am able to do with a product to benefit the learning of students!