On October 20th, 2010, I had the distinct pleasure of being part of the first Iowa 1:1 professional development day. Under the guidance of Jeff Dicks, Superintendent of Newell Fonda, and Todd Abrahamson, Superintendent of Sigourney, a Professional Development day was designed focusing on building a PLN (Personal Learning Network). Multiple Newell Fonda staff members, Sigourney staff members, and fellow Iowa educators organized, planned, and led a day of learning.
Elements that enhanced learning (at the Newell Fonda site):
1. Free, besides travel and lunch, this day was offered at no cost to participants.
2. Participants were encouraged to sign for twitter accounts and join the 1:1LaptopSchoolsning. This initial request allowed an front-loading (although it may have been slight) of tools used to build a PLN.
3. WiFi accessibility – although a slight hiccup during the Keynote Speaker, attendees had few problems accessing the web.
4. Sessions were plentiful, appealing to multiple subjects areas and grade-levels. A nice variety of topics and presenters.
5. Reflection time after each session was built in to the schedule. This allowed participants time to clarify things, apply learning, or just take a needed break. Unscheduled time was a nice addition!
Recommendations for consideration:
1. A keynote speaker at the site would have been better. People were lost in the vastness of the gym with only a small, stationary screen watching a person that they didn’t know and who didn’t understand them as Iowa educators.
2. Application of twitter and ning during the day… maybe at the beginning of the day. Participants were suggested to sign-up but then…
3. A reflective survey to take at end of the day instead of at a later time to ensure important thing were not forgotten.
Although I have given some things to consider, they are minor and I feel that the day as a whole was one of the most valuable, and well-orchestrated PD days I have participated in. To undertake an extensive day of learning for educators is a daunting task, Mr. Dicks and Mr. Abrahamson, as well as their respective staffs, should be commended and viewed as visionaries providing a community for the Iowa 1:1 schools.
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