The Dream Workshop

I have been given one and a half hours to present to our staff on day #1 next term. My title? DER.

Hmmm … what would you like to see and/or do for an hour and a half on the first day back to school? Be as creative as you like, but you must keep in mind a couple of things:

1. the focus is technology in education

2. hands-on is a must

3. sharing or showing would be good too

4. must be fun and inspiring – I want them to feel/appreciate/see why blended learning is the future of education!

Go for it!

23 thoughts on “The Dream Workshop

  1. 1. Students – get a blog up, have the teachers on it, have the students at home, posting/responding. Or have clip from students explaining why their teachers should have one.
    2. Show teachers how to set one up.
    3. Show other examples – have a teacher video conference, outling WHY and HOW this is cultural shift that can enhance learning.

    • Was thinking of doing blogs (BlogED) but then felt trapped by my old style, show my stuff, explain how and why I’ve done it etc … Bianca Show again.

      How can I make blogs meaningful and fun for teachers? Some kind of ‘old skool’ way then ‘new skool’, know what I mean?

      Like ‘write a story in your book’, share with one person and get feedback. Then ‘write story on blog’ share with whole room, other schools, the world and get LOTS of feedback. Would that work? maybe get em to tell jokes or write haiku? Would love a blogging explosion – writing for all subjects!!


  2. Hi Bianca

    When I deliver Moodle training I set the staff who are attending up as students and give them activities to complete. I do this so as to get them to appreciate how the different tools work from a student’s perspective.

    I plan to take the same approach this year when I will be delivering training on the use of Google Docs.

    You could do something similar. Perhaps letting the teachers work in departments. You could get them signed up with a collaborative tool. Then set them an activity to complete related to their subject. They could work collaboratively, learning to use the tools. At the end of the session each department could share the results of their efforts.

    You could then ask them to reflect on what they learned and challenge them to do at least one project with their students. This is generating a sense of intent but without making it something they have to do. In my experience, the interested/enthusiastic members of the departments will go for it.

    You could track/follow up on the progress over the course of the year by checking on each department. Set up a blog to publish the examples of how each department uses the tool that you demonstrated with them. As each department shows off what they achieved, other more reluctant departments will join in.

    I know that this can work as when we began delivering online meetings with parents the Maths department were reluctant to do it until they saw how successful they had been for English and Science.

    Ok, feel like I have rambled a bit. To get back to my original point. Let them do as students would do and explore the possibilities. Then challenge them to complete at least one project. Could be with one class, or one year group.

    I hope that this helps? I look forward to finding out what approach you decide to take and how you get on. Those of us who deliver training always do it with the best of intentions yet delivering PD is often fraught with danger when coming face to face with the reluctant teacher who does not want to learn/change.

    Good luck! 🙂

    • This is a really great approach, thanks James.

      A while ago I read a post about an effective blended learning strategy called ‘Tight Loose Tight’ (I thought the name was funny, but I think I’m just an immature baby, lol).

      the gist of this approach is that the a unit of work, lesson or series of lessons begins with ‘teacher-centric’ learning. This involves the teacher instructing students on the aim (or otucomes as we call them) of the project and setting some guidelines (hands out marking guidelines and explains etc)- this is the first ‘Tight’ phase. Teacher acts as ‘sage on the stage’.

      It then moves to a ‘student-centric’ model where students are given the freedom to use whatever specific approach they choose to complete the task. Essentially this means that they can decide what web-based app, software or other to create/research/complete their project. At this point the teacher is the ‘guide on the side’. This is the ‘Loose’ phase.

      Final phase sees teacher take to the stage again. The students hand in their projects and have them marked using the marking guidelines and outcomes outlined in first phase. Of course, students should be involved in self and peer marking also as this gives them a better appreciation for what they have learned.

      Thanks for you idea – will write up a post when I have fully fleshed out my workshop design. Awesome 🙂

      • This is similar to what Kevin McLaughlin (@kvnmcl) did this past week with his class. He set up a Posterous blog, set out the aims of the week and let his students decide what tech the would use to post to the blog including photos, writing and audio. You can read about it on his blog here:

        It looked like it was a fantastic project and it was clear from the blog itself that the students got a lot out of it.

        I hope you find the link useful. Kevin and his blog are definitely worth following. 🙂

      • Thanks so much – I will definitely be checking his stuff out. Is he on twitter too?

        I tried this once early this year and it was a bit of a failure 😦 The reason was is was completely new to the students and I set my expectations WAY too high – they resented being made to think/act independently in order to create. It was group work also and I let them choose their groups which may have been an issue. Should have blogged on that experience really (chatted a lot about it) because I felt students were experiencing culture shock like teachers had with the introduction of technology (netbooks and internet) into the classroom. They have become passive learners and I was forcing them to be active.

        Thanks again!

  3. i stumbled upon this blog by accident. really really boring stuff. are all teachers up their own asses this much?? i don’t think someone who has only been blogging for 7 months with very few and far between posts is any authority of the “digital revolution” did you just discover a computer???

    • And yet, you can’t leave your name, so we can’t join your conversation or learn from you. Also, please discover caps lock, as I’d hate people to judge you by your lack of capital letters.

    • What a rude comment! Any teacher knows it’s quality not quantity of blog posts that is important – perhaps what enables a teacher to support their own colleagues is that they are busy using these tools effectively in their own classes, as bianca does. Authority and credibility comes from being seen to be an effective user of these tools – oh, and being prepared to put a name to a comment would enable other readers to determine the validity or otherwise of your statement.

    • Ooh caps lock, hitting where it hurts.

      Viva Le Digital Revolution!

      I shant return, off to read blogs that have some actual cultural significance on the blogosphere.


  4. I think hands-on is the key. People must end up with the sense that they can now do something they couldn’t do before. They’ll benefit if this new skill involves the development of a resource or a strategy that is immediately transportable to the class room.

    I’m doing yet another introduction to OneNote. I seem to be stuck with this, but then this is where a lot of people are at my school.

    Each teacher in the workshop has been asked to come with a DER laptop and a teaching program. I’ll take it from there. What we’ll do is translate the teaching programs into a OneNote student book.

    Not to be stuck exclusively with OneNote, I also intend to touching on BlogED and Edmodo. I’ll briefly demonstrate these and suggest that each student’s OneNote book should have a page that works as a jumpsite linking directly into a variety of Web2.0 tools.

    If people can walk away with a tangible ‘object’ then I’ll feel I’ve succeeded.

    Another important point is that adult learners can often be embarassed about not being able to do things that they feel are becoming important in the world. I’ve notioced that this can often translate into oppositionality. Such resistance is best overcome by empowering the resisters with new skills.

    • Thanks Russell – a bunch of great ideas here!

      I haven’t heard (or thought of) a ‘jumpsite’ from OneNote – that’s a great idea. I feel my students are getting much better at OneNote but I can’t say other teachers are. I do see students using netbooks in class, but often beside a textbook so then OneNote becomes replacement for workbook. All Year 10 had to get netbooks completely reimaged (all data gone including MyLocker) and for some kids this spelt disaster DESPITE being told to back-up their work. Must train all teachers to help students back-up, a big issue that one can expect kids to foget to do – don’t we all?

      Love the idea of them creating an ‘object’ to take home with them. Hmm … now just to think what that could be! I wonder if creating a BlogEd blog with a few intro and beginning posts would feel like ‘something’? Of course I would demo/explain WHY blogs are a good choice in edu. OR maybe just time to create a few pages of a OneNote notebook – transforming existing material for students?

      The pressure is on for SC and HSC teachers, so maybe the blog could just contain ‘study’ posts for these classes? Just getting teachers to transform the known into a new format first would be safe and productive. Then maybe quickly show that slideshare can add PPs and youtube vids can be embedded or images and links …


      Loving this post cos getting sooo many ideas :0)

  5. I would have loved to learn how to podcast. So perhaps a hands on Audacity tutorial, and some tips on where audio files can be embedded?

    Audacity is so easy to use, and has many classroom applications. Learning how to adjust mic levels etc is also a great inroad to building confidence and digital literacy for teachers.

    • That’s a great idea, Kelli! I was actually thinking about software apps cos i don’t think much is happening with them in ANY class (OK, maybe, maybe one Maths class that uses Geogabra and obviously multimedia classes).

      Audacity is so easy to use, and I can show them how to easily convert files to Mp3 and send to class/teacher via edmodo.

      Will write a very quick blog post now and see if I can generate some ideas about use of Audacity across KLA.

      It’s a tough one – Audacity or BlogED?

  6. Bianca,

    This is probably not what you are after but I would like to attend a (year long) workshop where someone explained their creative process with constructing images. Not so much how to do layers in photoshop etc.. but more, where do my visuals/ideas actually come from? Do you see them in your mind? Do they emerge from doodling with technology? Other stimuli How?

    I’d like them to take an image – advertising, digital art, whatever – from their portfolio and then take me from a – z with their technical processes.

    Know anything like this going?

    • That does sound pretty amazing. I was watching some youtibe clips on mindmapping the other day and stumbled across Tony Buzan – he’s meant to be the father of mindmaps. he said something cool, about the mind being the latest landscape for exploration. Reminded me a little of the Margaret Atwood poem that was in the stimulus booklet for Change or Journeys.

      It also got me thinking about what Lee is doing with his Masters (soon to be PhD) project – he’s looking at visual perception and attention. basically he’s part of a HUGE project trying to map consciousness. How cool is that?

      So, what I’m getting at is that creativity is really only starting to be looked at scientifically and as we do so I think we’ll start to better understand the creative process. At the NSR Think Tank conference Martin Westwell spoke extensively about creativity and the need to tap into the right state of mind to actually be creative. He said it was so anti conventional schooling that teachers need to be trained in how the brain works. Something to do with ‘theta’ brain waves. Cool stuff.

      The ETA has a workshop happening on The Creative Teacher? Maybe that’s a start?


  7. Lots of great suggestions here.

    I recently did a BlogEd tutorial with the executive and was pleasantly surprised with how enthusiastically it was recieved. All could volunteer ways that they could use a blog in their faculty/subject and since they had already been unblocked many stayed afterwards and I helped them set up their first blog. That has never happened before and in the days after the tutorial the Head Teachers stopped by to tell me how many staff in their faculties had created blogs as well. The seed had grown!

    I think this is the way to go – show a tool like BlogED that can have immediate use. Teach to representatives from faculties and let them spread it further in ways that are relevant to their subject areas etc.

    Could work just as well with Audacity…

    Regardless we need to show others the possibilities and let them run with it.Start with ones that have a clear relevance, like OneNote, BlogED etc and let them experience success and they will be keen to come back for the next offering (we hope!)

    • Thanks paula!

      Yes, I think ‘planting the seed’ is definitely the way to go. I think also at my school getting the HTs on board is essential. I think I’ll set that as my goal for this term.

      BlogED is pretty easy going when just the basics are delivered and it is not used as a VLE – can’t replace a moodle or edmodo. Different purpose.

      A blog or a podcast could certainly be great ‘take away’ items!

      i wonder – could I do both in 1 and a 1/2 hours? First 1/2 hour showing each, final hour for ‘play’ divided into two groups?

  8. interesting reading indeed.

    I remember you did a workshop on OneNote before. So here’s a suggestion – a constructivist approach.

    How about using the audio and video recording within OneNote? Maybe as a comment or to augment a lesson? This will hopefully build on what teachers already know and use.

    If they find this feature useful and interesting – you’ve got an open door to Audacity (and a video editing tool like MovieMaker). Audacity allows you to edit and create a portable file (pretty sure you can’t do this with the OneNote recording). They can play with ‘layers’ and special effects in Audacity – that could lead to other possibilities…for example, I used Audacity while studying Percentages in Maths to show visually the effect of increasing the tempo, 50% increase meant 50% shorter. I’ve also used Audacity in IST (computing studies) for creating ads and soundtracks.

    This could indeed be a fun – albeit potentially noisy – workshop. It’s a good experience for teachers planning activities where students create audio files.

    …sorry this went on a bit… 🙂

    • Great – I love the idea of it being noisy! I want it to be noisy!

      I think I’ll get them to all brainstorm together and add it live to our edmodo group to generate ideas from all quarters.

      yes, incorporating with OneNote, blogED or edmodo is a must!

      Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s