Monday, 9 September 2013

Engaging in PD, making it count.

Last Thursday I attended a course on Blended Learning provided by TTS. I'd headed down hoping to learn more about planning and designing better integration of my BYOD devices, desktops and the school iPads. But I also got some first hand experience with the Socrative tool, I'd heard a lot about this but just never translated this into classroom use.

My problem with using Socrative before Thursday was I thought it was reasonably similar to using Google Forms, which I do use. Further, I couldn't imagine that I would be able to use Socrative effectively when I don't teach in a 1:1 classroom.

The facilitator demonstrated Socrative throughout the morning (albeit in a 1:1environment), so problem 1 was solved. Socrative can be used with far less set up, it took me 2-3 minutes today to train up my 2 of my BYOD students to help as class experts and with a very quick introduction we had the class all using this today.

However, immediately prior to this class is lunchtime. I was chatting with our DP and we were discussing meetings for the week, including a planning and curriculum mapping meeting. I suggested Socrative, gave him a quick run down (based on my limited knowledge) as the bell rang and headed back to class.

My plan for my afternoon lesson involved using a Thinglink image of the Painted Apple Moth to discuss a variety of issues that surrounded this pest and how it was eradicated. Using Socrative this became much more effective and the students loved the more interactive element.

I can't create a 1:1 environment, we have 3 desktops, 2 BYOD devices today plus my phone to use with 25 students in class today. Nothing like jumping in the deep end! With some creative questioning, smart use of peer/share activities and rotation of students using the desktops we made good use of Socrative on our 1st attempt. The class told me that they enjoyed its use in the class and it added a different element of voice even if one response was a tad over the top:

 T: How do you think they eradicated the Painted Apple Moth?
 S: They could shoot it with a Tomohawk Cruise Missile.

I recognise that some days I'll have several more BYOD devices in the room, boosted by school iPads and during ICT week every child would have a laptop. All of these circumstances make including Socrative even more favourable. The instant feedback was fantastic but it also gave me another management tool, data to base decisions on rather than just feel and allowed everyone a voice.

After school, I visited the DP, here he is setting up a quiz to use at our staff meeting on Wednesday. So we quickly trialled his quiz.

Engaging in PD isn't about just attending, instead taking valuable advice or resources and putting this into action is the important element of PD in any profession. Sharing your new knowledge with others in your organisation is also a vital component of PD and with any luck you'll watch as your peers act on your enthusiasm and new found knowledge.

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