Saturday, March 10, 2007

An Appeal for Opinions

As it is Saturday, and I have a rare quiet moment in the house (boy is sleeping and my wife is at the dentist), I sat down to hammer out some content on the wiki for this week's workshops. Since it lent itself most to this format, I began putting together my resources for "Welcome to Web 2.0" and soon realized that there were too many directions to go in. And if I am feeling that way, how do I expect my teachers to feel when I begin talking to them on Thursday?

The class is broken into three, one-hour sessions, one-week apart, and I thought the best thing to do then was to separate the class into three sections: what is Web 2.0, RSS Feeds and using the web to work "for" you, and a student collaboration piece. Now, my question to the world at large is fairly simple and beautifully complex: based on those three categories, where do you think I should take them? Teachers: what would you want to be taught about Web 2.0 and its classroom uses or what has stuck with you from any workshops or formal training? Technologists: what do you think the most essential message is in terms of what teachers should see in order to connect to their students? Admins: What do you want your teachers to know?

I want the staff to walk out of the meeting not necessarily armed with a ready-made lesson for them to take to class, but with a little cognitive dissonance. They should be energized but slightly unsettled to the point that they email during the week, or post on the discussion board of the wiki because they want more clarity. Yet, I don't want to have them tune out the tech guy because I am talking over their heads.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


Drussell said...

Great wiki! I, too, have tried to make an instructional wiki for technology workshops. Feel free to visit:

I plan on visiting yours often to see what new ideas you have added. Keep up the good work.


Barbara said...

It is Sunday morning and I am trying to catch up with my reading and there was your request for input.
I hate to answer a question with a question but the first consideration is what understanding do the teachers have of the need for embracing technology. The story of the digital world....
I tried to start my teachers ( after we explored the story) with RSS and it just confused them. I think giving them the luxury of time to explore edu blog sites and to discuss what they read is the door in to make them want and understand RSS. I also think showing how other teachers around the world are connecting students and using these new tools is powerful. My teachers wanted to see the potential in action. One thing we also did was visit some student projects and leave comments. These luxury of time activities led to more openness to the technical training. By the way they also loved the videos you have on your wiki.

I do not know if this helps but it is what is working for me.

Patrick Higgins said...

Thanks Danita. A bunch of teachers in the district are now starting to latch onto the idea of using a wiki as a great way to extend their classrooms a bit further than the 40 minutes per day we see them. I thought this might sway the rest if I included them on what used to be hallowed ground for the tech department.


You've given me some insight here. I think what I will include is a section of the wiki, maybe early on, that showcases what teachers like Vicki Davis, Clay Burell, and Darren Kuropatwa are doing with wikis and with other Web 2.0 tools. Do you have any other teachers out there off the top of your head who are doing things worth showing?

Konrad Glogowski said...

I know it's too late now since your presentation is on Thursday, but I just wanted to add two suggestions:

1. I agree with Barbara - your audience needs to see what the edublogosphere is like. Once they see the energy, the discussions, the questions they will most likely want to be part of it, either by keeping track of the discussions or contributing through their own blog or a wiki. That's when a discussion on RSS will be most helpful.

2. I think it's always a good idea to talk about how the technology changes the notion of teaching and learning. For example, years ago, I needed to take a course to improve my German. Now, I can access resources online and read, listen to, and interact with authentic materials produced in that language. In short, I do not need an instructor. So, what are learners like today? What are teenagers like? What do they do online? Why? How does that impact our classroom practice? Web 1.0 was about push, Web 2.0 is about pull. That has a huge impact on education.

Just a thought!

Patrick Higgins said...


Thanks for the advice. Check out the wiki in progress at

I can't stop adding resources!