Preparing to lead a professional development session or conference presentation takes time, especially planning the most beneficial activities and methods to deliver the information. It is a good idea to plan different activities that will both inform and engage the participants, and lead to great conversations and takeaways that can be implemented right away. Often the hardest part of planning is starting – coming up with the best way to share that new tool or method with colleagues and a plan to help them see the tool’s benefits come to life. Here are some tips to get started with planning these professional development opportunities, as well as, tips on spreading the word about Kidblog in your next session.
Looking to share the many ways Kidblog can be used in the classroom? Here are some ideas for getting started:
First, plan your session. Decide how much time you want to spend leading and delivering the content versus facilitating. The difference is, do you want to have the session be more of a lecture, with some time for questions, or more interactive, with lots of time built in for questions, collaboration and creation? When introducing new tools and ideas, many people prefer a more interactive experience. This builds in time to work together with colleagues, collaborate, and walk away with new ideas and action items to implement these new ideas into the classroom. It is highly beneficial for participants to feel like they can try something different the next time they are in the classroom. Tangible ideas that can be implemented quickly are important.
Once you decide on a timeframe, plan how you will share Kidblog:
1) Make a list of some of the different ways Kidblog can be used for helping students build essential literacy skills. Suitable for all content areas and levels, Kidblog is a great way to help students develop their reading and writing skills, as well as helping to develop an online presence. Providing a list of ways to implement Kidblog in the classroom with some examples is always helpful and gives a jump start on how to use it in the classroom.
2) Provide a list of possible writing prompts and share these and student samples with teachers. Be sure to allow some time for colleagues to work together to find ways to apply these prompts in their own classrooms and come up with new prompts. Adding this time in for collaboration is important for keeping participants active in the session and for building new ideas and resources.
3) Create a Kidblog class for teachers to enroll in as students, and provide a brief prompt through which the teachers can share their experience or ideas for using blogging in the classroom. Encourage teachers to read and comment on the responses of others in their class. By doing this, you provide the hands-on opportunity for teachers to see how easily Kidblog can be used and the benefits for communicating and collaborating between peers. Providing the opportunity for that “student” perspective will be beneficial for teachers to see how students will be accessing and interacting with the platform.
4) Show how Kidblog can be used for other purposes besides blogging and in conjunction with other digital tools to enhance student learning and creativity. For example, talk about the benefits of using Kidblog as a digital portfolio and how each student can build their own online social presence and learn to be a responsible digital citizen.
5) Have some screenshots and examples available to show the ways that teachers can assess students through Kidblog and how the students can use it for their own self- assessment. By providing authentic examples, teachers can quickly see the many uses of Kidblog and connect it to something in their specific area.
6) Another way to share the benefits of Kidblog is to have students share their perspectives on the use of Kidblog. Ask students to respond to a prompt or to simply share some of their ideas about what they like about Kidblog. Often hearing directly from the students about why and how technology is beneficial will enhance the understanding of the educator and bring more meaning to the learning experience and professional development.
7) Have some student blog posts available or other sample resources to show the benefits of blogging and how other educators have used Kidblog in their classroom.
Some final reminders:
Be sure to leave time for questions and time for teachers to interact and share ideas. If time allows, perhaps teachers can even begin setting up their classes. Facilitate their learning as you would in the traditional classroom setting and promote the fact that tools such as Kidblog expand where and when students are learning and create that virtual classroom which will be highly beneficial for students and teachers in many ways.
For more information, check out this Kidblog webinar on “Introducing Blogging to Teachers at a Professional Development Events”