Seven Recent Workshop Wikis

Here’s a few of the workshop wikis I’ve used recently, which I thought might be worth sharing here.

Intro to Tablet PC – This is the latest version of my Intro to Tablet PC workshop. We had to do this in three hours, though, and only got through the Education Pack and Experience Pack.

Tablet Sharing – This page is for Tech Lead Teachers who meet every other month as part of a Tablet PC Pilot project. This included my previous sketchcasting workshop and then some. There’s a few more example sketchcasts in this outline. We also covered Jing… and because there was time left I showed them a document camera and then ZiPhone – and how to jailbreak their iPhones. :)

Document Camera Workshop – This is a new workshop for me and it went well. The wiki isn’t terribly rich yet, but it provides a structure for training teachers of various levels how to use a document camera in the classroom and includes links to several quality resources for additional ideas and inspiration.

Projector Workshop – CUE does projector workshops from time to time (either 3 or 6 hour versions) and I used to wonder how on Earth that time was filled, even though I understood it was more about how to teach with a projector rather than how to use a projector. This wiki represents my first go at running a projector workshop myself. It was 90 minutes of interactive demo followed by 90 minutes of practice time where teachers got to team up and work on the things they most wanted to try. It went well for me, and there are lots of links on this wiki for anyone else attempting something similar.

Google in Education – This is the outline of my short Google Workshop, which is largely delivered as a demo that the participants can follow along with hands-on. I most recently delivered this to teachers in Redondo Beach, and wished I could do all three days of the Search, Learn, Share training below.

Search, Learn, Share – This wiki was originally created by Chris Walsh and I to support a workshop based on the original Google Teacher Academy. I recently expanded it into three half-day Saturday workshops for private schools, which you can access in the sidebar. I’m very happy with how this worked out, and think there’s enough structure here for other professional developers to put it to use without much work.

Images, Impact, and Interaction – This is another new workshop for me… rather than how to use Powerpoint, this is how to design better presentations, with a focus on creating interactive experiences for the students. It went well, and again there are plenty of links to good resources here.

I’d love any feedback you might have on any of these workshop wikis. And, of course, feel free to contribute to them or put them to use, as long as you respect the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. ;)

UPDATE: See my Workshops page for a more complete list of workshops. Most are wikis, and several are newly updated.

Professional Development: Training, Planning, and Sharing

On Wednesday I was once again at the Laguna Beach Unified School District to work with teachers involved in their Tablet PC pilot program. I found the experience worth reflecting on for three reasons.

First, like the Palm Springs Tech Plan, this project has been an opportunity for me to use a wiki for collaboration over a longer period of time (as opposed to in support of a specific workshop). You can find the agendas, links, and session notes from each of our workshops and sharing sessions at

Given the shortage of “Tablet PC in Education” resources I found prior to beginning this project, I want to be sure as many people know about this wiki as possible – so that others might benefit from it, and so that we might benefit from their contributions. Unfortunately, like many of the wikis I use for workshops, this one has been largely created and maintained by me. Partly, though, this is because we are meeting face-to-face every month and I want to take advantage of that opportunity rather than forcing the use of an online tool. Still, the running record of our work together (especially the PDF notes of our sessions) is something I appreciate. If you have any suggestions for improving this resource (or its use), please leave a comment here – or at the wiki.

Second, I think it is noteworthy that when Victor Guthrie, the technology director at the district, ordered the workshops, he did not order a hands-on training for each session. He asked for every other session to be a shorter “sharing session” during which the participants would share challenges and best practices. The value of this has been apparent at each of our three sharing sessions. Victor and his staff have been able to be more responsive to the teacher’s needs, and innovations have had an opportunity to propagate between classrooms and even between sites. I’ve been amazed at how many problems were solved merely by one teacher bringing up an issue, and another responding right away “oh, just do X.” At this point I think the notes from these sessions are probably the most powerful product of the program (and the best information available at the wiki, even if some of it is in my chicken-scratch handwriting). The interesting thing is, we could have used even more of this SHARING time. The teachers are still requesting more time to absorb and apply the things they have learned.

So the third thing that made last week’s meeting blog-worthy for me was that when we discussed the topic for the final three-hour hands-on workshop scheduled for next month, the participants asked not for more training, but for time to develop lessons and units using what they’ve already learned this year (and admittedly we’ve thrown a lot at them during the first three workshops). This is the first time I’ll be formally facilitating a “lesson planning” session (though I’ve done “hybrid” workshops in which participants were trained and then had time to create). As I’ve begun thinking about how to best structure the session, I’ve realized this might be a formula that would make a good professional development rule of thumb: training, sharing, and planing.

What if when preparing professional development we planned to spend only a third of our time on training, a third on sharing, and a third on planning? This could work for planning a series of workshops, or for planning a particular workshop.
Maybe the elements should not necessarily be in that order. Perhaps it should be: Training, Planning, and Sharing.

In any case, the Laguna Beach teachers not in the pilot program (and teachers in other districts, for that matter) are also often asking for repeat workshops or part II workshops or simple lesson planning time… for topics such as blogging and podcasting, for example. Perhaps the next time I book a series of workshops will be an opportunity to apply this new rule of thumb.

The wiki, of course, would seem to fall under the “sharing” part of the plan, but could really be used to facilitate all three of these elements.

I look forward to trying this out. In the meantime, if any of you have any comments, I’d love to hear from you. :)

Learning More About Tablet PCs in Education

Since I’m leading a cohort of teachers through a Tablet PC Pilot Project, I finally decided to invest in my own. I purchased the same model they received from their district, an HP Compaq tc4200, only I got mine on eBay for $650… sans battery, charger, and stylus. I didn’t read the small print until after committing. Ouch. At anyrate, ordering the other parts separately, it was about $850… and I payed a bit of a premium to get it to me by the 28th for my workshop on the 29th.

I already have a MacBook with Parallels, so I can run OS X, Windows XP, and Fedora Linux on my laptop… but none of those had tablet features… so now I have a tablet. It’s the price of being a generalist, even in a specialized field like educational technology. Anyway, at least Conlay will be proud.