When I work with teachers, I usually start my workshops with a question. “What is the one new media thing (tool, idea, experiment, whatever) that you would like to try with your students that you are not doing now?” I typically ask them to write that one thing down on an index card. And then, I ask them to flip it over and write on the back, “what’s standing in your way?”
I read some pretty helpful information on those index cards….creative ideas, interesting plans, and some pretty darned good insights into the roadblocks that teachers face.
Here’s a smattering of my index card collection. These are all new things that high school teachers have said they would like to try:
– Using Moodle to teach part of my course.
– Learn how to use podcasting so my students can create podcasts.
– Using wikis and interactive forums.
– Need to be more aware of what all is out there.
– Blogging – would like my students to blog.
– Student projects – sharing information between my class and a class in Sweden.
– Video podcasts and teleconferencing with students in another location.
– Help students develop personal learning networks.
– Use Facebook for program updates and building a community. Learn how to section off parts of Facebook.
– Teach students how to read, evaluate, and edit information online.
– More about online safety and etiquetter – also how to get hits and increase participation.
– How to use Google Docs effectively.
– Learn how to use tags effectively.
– Help students to find and access other professionals.
– How to creatively create a tour of my classroom.
– How to use KMZ files with Google Earth.
– Post more of my resources on networks.
Pretty good list, eh? I’m always impressed with the scale and the variation of the ideas I hear. Teachers are endlessly creative. And what’s standing in their way? What do they write on the flipside of the index card? About 90% of the responses are “time”, or some variant of time….as in, not enough of it. Some say “training” or “resources” or “buy in from my administration”….but mostly, it’s just time they need. Time to learn about it themselves. Time to think. Time to plan.
Maybe one of the best professional development gifts we could give to teachers in the new year is time off! Maybe a free period for one semester, with the goal to figure out that participatory media tool they’ve been wanting to try?
What have you been wanting to try, and what obstacles do you face? And, just as importantly, what ideas do you have to get you the time you need to clear those obstacles away?