I've had this idea, after watching the response to the Google Teacher Academies, of holding regional/local 1-day Web 2.0 workshops for educators. (I have already talked to the folks running the Google stuff just to make sure they didn't feel I would be competing with them.)

Here's what I was thinking:

1. Organize in certain cities, and have local educators sign up to actually facilitate topics
2. No requirements to come (geared toward newbies)
3. Short on lecture, long on hands-on

Any appeal? Any ideas?

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Classroom teachers need to see ways that others integrate web 2.0 based lessons into actual lessons. I know many bloggers are concerned with the slow rate of progress they see in the classroom setting. Teachers as a whole want to see things that have worked or that they think they can adapt to their classrooms. On your other post you asked for some feedback on disengaged students in classrooms. There is a real need for activities that engage high school students at all levels of ability. All teachers want to engage their students. Many teachers see the need to use web 2.0 tools, and they want to use them. The nuts and bolts of implementation and real ideas for their particular classrooms are what we need. I teach motivated AP US history students, and I've been working on a good application of a wiki for my classes this entire school year. I've changed its purpose, layout, and use for the 100th time this week. Now I think I've got it. Our tech support is outstanding so that is not the problem. The problem is when we close the classroom door will this work? Teachers don't have a lot of time to experiment with all the other constraints placed on them. If they see things that work they buy in almost immediately. Get people to showcase what works for particular age groups. There is a real need for high school activities that engage students, and that do not abandon the content requirements of courses. It's easy to make a wiki, making a wiki that engages students in a collaborative effort is quite different and difficult. These examples are out there, but they don't seem to be readily available for others to see. Maybe that is what Classroom 2.0 could do for the "in the trenches" people.
Maybe the focus should be to have them pick one aspect of Web 2.0, to "chunk" it so to speak. Maybe the sessions could be on different applications? Slideware adn podcasting: if they have done plays, stories, making books in the past, this is a natural 2.0 area to go into. I did it because I love to listen to podcasts myself. Wikis are a way in for people who are already to group projects and process writing in the pencil and paper world. Blogging is great for teachers who like interactive journals. Once they see how they are using the precursors to these in the analog world, I think their minds will be more open. Then you can talk about the structure, process issues on the web, and now web applications will take it to a whole new level of participation, engagement, etc. The hardest group to get onboard may well be teachers who are running classes as 90% lecture and worksheet because they haven't bought into the engagement argument at all.
These are great points. I am hopeful that the classsroom 2.0 wiki (www.classroom20.net) can provide some of those examples. But from what you are saying, I can see a real need for specific, hands-on demonstrations. Would having a local workshop help in that way? Seems like it could be amazing--especially if you had it in such a form that people come both as presenters and audience. Could it be structured in such a way that those with successful practices could share what they are doing? How would you organized that?
It sounds like you would like to do an unconference. Perhaps a little more organization before the workshops than an unconference would bring in more of the teachers who are less comfortable with technology because they can plan to attend things that look useful instead of showing up and hoping that they learn something. I think that the type of workshop that you are suggesting would appeal to a lot of my teachers, and I know that it appeals to me. My problem is that most of those things happen on the West Coast and I am not sure that I have the experience, contacts, or skills to organize one in the Midwest. If you manage to arrange something successful, I would love to hear how you set it up so that perhaps I could do the same.
I would suggest that not the whole conference but maybe like 1/4th of the time at the start be spent on discussing the possibilities with examples, and a bit of hands on. THEN people could figure out what was interesting. We would need to have people around willing to facilitate that have experience in the specific areas. Like I wouldn't want to present on wikis or social bookmarking myself, but I could probably do pc-based podcasting, or setting up class blogs. I think that flexibility will be key. I haven't done an unconference as Teacher K talks about below, but I think that we need to try to have people in place as potential facilitators/presenters.
Great idea Steve. I like the idea of it being an "unconference". I'd join in!
We do something similar to this every year in Maine immediately after school ends. It is very very successful. It started as totally Open Source - New England LInux Symposium. But, has evolved into web 2.0 , Open Source, free etc and even changed the name this year to FOSSED: Free, Open Source software in Education.
Anyway, I know that teachers are ready!
My view as a classroom teacher is that there are three types of teachers when it comes to technology integration:
1. The uninterested or uninvolved. This may be due to the lack of funding the district has to buy hardware, the district is not pushing technology, or these teachers just aren't interested or involved. Either way these teachers still haven't bought into the whole idea, and you won't find many of them at a workshop or conference in technology.
2. The "I want to learn about this" teachers. These teachers are interested in seeing what a blog is and how to do a podcast or create a wiki. They are interested in seeing the "stuff" to use in an integrated classroom.
3. Then there are those teachers who know how to do or create the wiki, podcast, or whatever, they want real instruction or ideas on what to do with these new tools.

The latter two groups will attend ed-tech workshops, but their needs have to be addressed in completely different ways. A large group of teachers from my district attended PETE and C in Hershey, PA a couple of months ago, and we heard Will Richardson speak in the morning. We have integrated a lot of technology in our district and were anxious for the breakout sessions. Some of us went to the "Educationals Blog" session and saw how to make a blog; this was not what we wanted and this session should not have taken an hour. The other sessions' leaders showed how to do things for group 2 above, but rarely were the needs of group 3 addressed. Practical ways to increase learning through web tools is what the people in group 3 need and want to see. Any workshop/conference should have sessions that differentiate between groups 2 and 3. These teachers are interested and willing to learn, but they need totally different presentations. From a classroom teacher's vantage point, it's easy to create a blog or wiki, but to create one that increases student learning and engagement is another thing entirely.
Very important clarifications. Might I suggest two basic tracks, then? 1) Fundamentals and 2) Application?

What about: Start with a short keynote, talking about the potential for personal and classroom transformation using the tools of the read/write web. Then have some hands-on how-to sessions on the basics of whatever technologies are being focused on. At the same time, have some sessions on practical and pedagogical uses of the technologies, and have those sessions be very interactive, but facilitated by someone with practical experience. Tie everything back to the classroom 2.0 wiki so that there is an easy record for everyone. Come back together and share the best things that occurred.
YEAH!! I need hands-on podcasting and webcasting - there's two workshops! Going deeper with delicious would be great - the idea of other's doing research and accessing it both via delicious and via RSS - well I'm frankly a newbie at it. Truth be told, I'm a newbie at all of it!! Hagerstown area? Chambersburg? Summer break time?
hello steve
You're in, Gail! :)



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