Tech20Tuesday – a leadoff double!

The second week of Tech20Tuesday is in the books.  Yesterday afternoon we looked at Slideshare, an on-line tool for sharing presentations and other documents.  Think of it as a “YouTube for PowerPoints“.

Reaching Out to the Edges

Tech20Tuesday is our district’s latest initiative to support teachers in embedding technology within their learning environments.  With almost 800 teachers spread in a variety of schools, many over an hour away from the city, it’s sometimes a challenge to get mentors and coaches on the ground to support both teachers and students in 21st century learning on a regular basis.  We also recognize that teachers are busy, far too busy to give up large chunks of time in after-school PD.

The whole premise of Tech20Tuesday is that, by utilizing the connectivity of the web, we can meet teachers wherever they happen to be; school, home, the local coffee shop! We are using SMART Technologies Bridgit conferencing software, which is bundled within the Notebook software, to share a common presentation screen and audio/video.  The idea is, in twenty minutes, to show teachers a new tool, how it works and an example or two of how they and their students might utilize it within their classroom. No huge demand on time or effort.

After two weeks, the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.  Each week we have had 30-40 teachers “attend” virtually.  Some are individuals, but many are in groups. One school, located almost an hour outside the city, provides coffee and muffins for their staff who gather together (10 or so) each week for a bit of learning and professional talk.  Through technology, we are able to support their journey.

Oh yeah, then there’s my son’s Grade 11 Biology teacher.  My son came home Friday and noted he had a test. His teacher, who had attended the initial session on Wordle, used the tool to create a word cloud on the test, from which students could pick terms.

While the idea isn’t a walk-off homer, I would count Tech20Tuesday as a lead-off double at least!

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