Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Net(book) Effect on Professional Learning

As some readers know, my school recently deployed nearly 1300 ASUS Eee PC netbooks to our students. This is an exciting time at our school because the creation of a 1:1 environment is leading to some excellent conversations amongst colleagues about what we're doing in our classrooms.

Last Thursday at a workshop run by two excellent educators from South Portland, Maine I spent the day with some of my colleagues (all from different departments) talking about what we were doing in our classrooms and how we can integrate various web-based technologies into our instruction. The first part of the workshop was an introduction to basics of what teachers can do with blogs, wikis, and websites. After the introduction some of my colleagues were very focused on asking questions like, "do I want to make a blog, a website, or a wiki?" Rather than attempting to directly answer the question, I used a tip I got from Marco Torres and asked my colleagues what they were doing in their classes right now. Based on those conversations we were able to determine if a blog, wiki, or website would best help them meet their classroom objectives.

I truly believe that the best lessons are developed through the exchange of ideas with colleagues. The workshop my colleagues and I attended was a great excercise in sharing ideas and learning from each other. Since my colleagues and I received the official announcement that netbooks were going to be distributed to our students, the sharing of ideas between colleagues has been one of the better immediate gains of 1:1 computing.