Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Screencast-o-Matic

I have been frustrated lately. Part of my contract states that I will offer weekly morning technology mini workshop sessions for teachers in our district. I have been planning these and offering them every Thursday morning all year long. Unfortunately I am lucky if I get just one or two people in attendance. I know it is not that teachers don't want or feel they need this training, it is a time issue. If you are strapped for time you are going to cut out everything that is not essential. Attending an optional training session is usually viewed as something that can be cut out if there is no time unless what is being offered is crucial to what is happening in your classroom today. I find my position is far more effective as an on demand resource that teachers can call in when they need something NOW or if they have specific projects they want to work on and need advice.

I am going to try a new approach. Instead of always planning a session, showing up, and having all that planning time and energy wasted I am going to make these sessions available in small snippits that can be viewed when teachers have time or when they are at home. Hopefully this will help. For this I am going to use a combination of Screencast-o-matic and Ustreamtv. I have set up a training blog that I will post these to for our district teachers.

I believe this approach to professional development is in keeping with what we are trying to accomplish with these new 21st century tools and is a step toward developing a new 21st century pedagogy. If teachers are going to alter their teaching methods they need to experience alternatives from the learner's perspective. Hopefully this method of content delivery will be more effective, reach more of our staff, and in turn have an effect on how these tools are utilized in the classroom.

3 comments:

Michael Bachrodt said...

Carl,

I am having huge success with 15 minute snippets of instruction every Tuesday with our school administrators during their weekly Team meetings. They have each received a Tablet PC this year and I provide them with a Tablet tip they can use to make their daily work life easier. The neat part is that 15 minutes often turns into 30. They honestly look forward to me joing them in their weekly team meeting on Tuedays. I also use this as an opportunity to show them how teachers can and are using the Tablet PCs. My hope is that as the Admins learn to use the technology, they will be able to make suggestions to teachers during post-evaluation sessions. This way, the admins are modeling the use of the Tablet PCs!

Our teachers are also receiving Tablet PCs at the rate of two departments/year. Lots of training, right? Well, I am fortunate to have a teacher in each department who acts as a Tech Coach. I spend 15 minutes with them at least once per week during their daily 25 minute 'tech duty' and show them the Tablet PC technology as well. They, in turn, work with teachers in their departments using similar 15 minute teasers. The teachers always want more.

Another aspect of training that is working well is to focus training with teachers who do show interest in using tech to teach instead of waiting for them to come to us. Those teachers begin using the technology and others soon start getting more interested.

I have also been using this approach with Web 2.0 tools. This week I introduced Delicious to the administrators. They loved it. They are making accounts. I told them I wanted to create a school Delicious account. Imagine all teachers sharing their teaching strategy web finds with one another! I introduced Wikis to Tech Coaches last month and we now have a new Tech Spot wiki! (http://fremdtechsupport.wetpaint.com)

I encourage you to continue the small snippets approach. It's always going to be small steps but this approach is working great for me!

Carl Anderson said...

Thanks Michael. Your approach sounds very similar to what I have been doing this year. I have a captive audience of teachers at each faculty meeting for 5-15 minutes each week and at least that much with our administrators. My frustration has to do with the sessions I am required under my contract to offer. How do you get someone to attend optional training without feeding or paying them?

Ron Starc said...

My Screen Recorder Pro will work better for you. It is an excellent screencasting tool. Records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone - or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to AVI, WMV, MP4, or FLV. Just perfect for creating tutorials, demos, and presentations. Plus, java is not required and there are no limits on recording length. Also, the recordings play back on any device.