Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wikilicious: Collaborative Portals for (Life Long) Professional Learning


Several years ago when AASL came to Charlotte, I wandered into a session called Gadget-A-GoGo! - starring Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian.  That session rocked my world in so many ways, but one idea that I got from Gwyneth that day was the notion of creating a tech wiki for my staff - a collaborative portal to help teachers - whether they're technoPHOBES or technoFABS - incorporate technology into their learning.  Now, Gwyneth's wiki is, truly, a marvel, so you're not allowed to compare my work to hers, (because there's no comparrison!), but I did want to share the collection of resourcse that I've been slowly piecing together for the last couple of years.

http://web2-grove.wikispaces.com/
I'm sure many of you have heard of the "21 things" approach to staff development that provides teachers with bite sized exposure to new concepts over time - allowing them to explore new resources and dive into those that particularly interest them - as opposed to prescribed, lecture based workshops that we all know and love so much. Anyway, for the last couple of years, I've led a similar yearlong staff development at my school in collaboration with our computer resource teacher whom I love and adore for so many reasons, but mostly because she always knows the "hows" of my always big, and often crazy, ideas.  Essentially, we take 5 minutes out of each faculty meeting to introduce the staff to one cool new tech tool.  That tool is added to the wiki, along with a video tutorial and other related info as I find it.  (Note: up to this point, the video tutorials I've posted are just those I've found on youtube, but if I can get my act together, I'm planning to do at least one or two of my own this year in homage to The Mighty Little Librarian (Tiffany Whitehead)'s Tech Tuesday's video series!)  As the year progresses, I offer longer, completely optional, more in depth sessions for teachers who are interested in learning more about a specific tool or who require a little extra help getting started.  Then, at the end of the year, whether you've participated in an optional session or not, we offer an opportunity for staff members to earn renewal credits by implementing one of the tech tools listed on the wiki, submitting a lesson plan and writing a reflection.  Bam!

Now, I have no idea how many "things" we go over in a year, but over time the wiki has grown in to a living resource that not only includes my own write ups of the tech tools, but also video tutorials, .pdf instructions to FAQ tech questions and even a running bibliography of professional reading for those teachers who haven't joined twitter, but who are still interested in what's happening in the Edtech world.  As always, you are more than welcome to steal, share and change anything you find on my wiki.  Just remember, like all wikis, ours is a work in progress and will likely *never* be finished - but that's kind of how learning works, no?



PS:  Everything on the wiki is formatted to look AWEsome on the old school square PC monitors we have at school (after all, my target audience is there) - so if you've got a shiney new on your desk or are lucky enough to have something equally impressive at home, the proportions may look a little off.  Plus, there's definitely some Flash-love happening on the wiki, so if you're scoping it out on your iPad, you'll be sorely disappointed.  But trust me, if you ever come to my school, it'll rock your socks. :)

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