As a technology learning coach I often have the opportunity to create professional learning experiences for our teachers. It’s not a huge part of my every day responsibilities, but over a given year I tend to lead 5-6 professional learning experiences. I really like the opportunity to work with a larger number of teachers at the same time, but I’m still developing in how I approach these learning experiences. This is the biggest reason I picked the option to create a professional learning experience – I wanted to push myself in something that I need more experience in completing.
For the section I focused on – the how of collaboration – I followed a structure that I’m familiar with, the Jigsaw Culture of Thinking routine. I really like how it gives an opportunity for the audience to read and hear from experts (via articles, videos, podcasts, etc), but then facilitated rich discussion around it. The how of collaboration was also a very large part of this course, especially week 2. I linked in a Wakelet with the resources for the jigsaw and included a few of our own readings from week 2 (I really enjoyed the Slate article More Talking in Class, Please).
How our group collaborated?
Ryan, Alex, Saadia and I used Slack as our primary tool of collaboration throughout the project. I has used Slack multiple times in the past, but not as a tool for co-construction of an experience like this one. It was challenging at times and I do wish we would have taken an opportunity to all video chat together first to come up with a shared vision. Slack is great for working with teams spread across the globe, but I’m not sure it is ideal as the only tool in a group that has never worked together. If I was to make any changes it would be to have a video call a couple of times throughout the project to check-in and see how things are going.
Our professional learning experience aimed to introduce teachers to:
- Why do we collaborate?
- How do we collaborate?
- What tools can help us collaborate?
We wanted to provide background knowledge of collaboration (the why and how) in combination with what some tools we can use to support collaboration. The why and how were important in developing a shared understanding of collaboration while the tools gave teachers some concrete ideas that they could try immediately in their classrooms.
Please take a look at our PD. We welcome you to make a copy and try it out with your learning community and if you do, please let us know how it went in the comments.