It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the end of yet another course, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a sense of relief to be reaching the end this week. The last couple of weeks of this course has coincided with the first couple of weeks of another fairly intensive online course- the ISTE Educator Certification. And while the 2 classes are direct complements of each other, the amount of time it takes to digest the information and use it to produce content (reflections, discussions, assignments, peer feedback, etc.) can be overwhelming. This is in addition to the increased workload in my job as we prepare to host a full-day educational technology conference on our campus in two week’s time.
In some ways, the end of this course, as well as the corresponding final project, is perfect timing because I will have the chance to run one of these workshop sessions at the upcoming conference with a live audience of educators. So, let’s jump in and have a look at the professional development program that my group created to show our learning from Course 3.
Goals & Objectives
As a group, we found a lot of value and application of the content and standards we used throughout Course 3. We decided to mirror the goals and objectives from weeks 1-4 and condense them into short professional development workshops that could be facilitated by any of us in our varied roles and contexts. The ISTE Educator Standards we used to frame the sessions are the same used throughout this course (4 & 6), and we adopted many of the same ideas, activities, and resources presented to us in the last 6 weeks.
One of the main goals throughout this course was to grow as a collaborator and find ways to deepen our connections with other educators in our cohort. Unlike the previous collaborative task in Course 2 where we partnered up with one other person, this project challenged us to add more contributors to our group. Our particular group brought together an elementary classroom teacher in Germany, a librarian in India, a Tech Integration Coordinator in Shanghai and myself in Guangzhou. That means we were operating in different time zones, across continents and bringing our uniques perspectives and experience together with a shared goal. That’s a powerful yet challenging task to accomplish. To assist with this, we used several collaborative platforms to plan. These include a channel on Slack, several Google apps (Slides, Sites, Docs), Padlet, and Flipgrid.
Challenges & Successes
While collaborative technology helped bridge the geographical gaps between group members to complete this project, it didn’t feel as impactful as face-to-face collaboration might have. The initial planning stages went through a few iterations (brainstorming doc/planning doc) before the real work seemed to start. David was really the first person to initiate this, and I’m thankful he led the way because it helped us move forward with the project. The main challenge for me was that I had other big projects in the works which took my time and focus away from being fully engaged. That being said, I feel like we had a lot of success as a group once the session outline was done. The session planning seemed to grow organically with members of the group jumping in to support with resource suggestions, questions and ideas, which was a notable success.
As mentioned in my opening paragraph, my school will be hosting an educational technology conference in two weeks and I have put my name forward as a presenter. This was not initially part of my plan because I don’t really know how busy the day will be for me as an organizer, but some of the teachers scheduled to present have backed out last minute. Additionally, it’s a good opportunity for me to share some of my learning with others and now, much of the planning is already done. It’d be silly not to. So, check back in a couple of weeks for a full report on how the session went and what feedback I receive from participants!