I was speaking with a colleague the other day, after she had finished facilitating some professional learning. She told me that the group she was working with had received their devices at different times throughout the year -- some in September, some in December, and others just in the past week. When she arrived at the session, she was amazed that some had never been turned on. Others had been turned on, but the devices had never been explored.
When we as educators are lucky enough to be handed a new tool – interactive white board, tablet, laptop, ChromeBook, iPad, or a piece of software – it is our responsibility to have some fun and play with it. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT wait for the training. If you wait for the training, then that is all it will be – training. It will not be a true professional learning experience.
Sit down with it and experiment. Try out everything that comes with it.
- Is there software pre-installed? If you don’t think your students would use that software, think again. Get those creativity juices flowing.
- What does it do? What doesn’t it do?
- How could your students create with it?
- What can they produce?
- Is it best used as a tool for consuming information?
- If your students have access to the tool, what are the classroom management issues?
- How can you prepare for them and address them?
- What makes it different than the old tools you already had (if you had them)?
- Is it mobile? Is it tethered?
- Does it allow for touch?
- Does it use a stylus/pen?
- Is a camera built in? Take some pictures.
- Once you’ve taken pictures, what can you do with them?
- Explore the software. Explore the apps.
- Do you see any similarities?
- Are there certain buttons that appear on a regular basis? What are they? What do they do?
- Which 21st century skills does the use of the new tool promote?
- Can your students collaborate using the new tool?
- Can they communicate using it?
- Can they use the tool to construct their own knowledge?
- How is the tool used in the real world?
- Does it encourage problem solving?
Once you’ve thought about this, you’ve kick-started your professional learning. Now, you're ready for that workshop.