As I focus on documenting FOR learning, I’m thinking about how I prepare FOR learning – in particular, preparation for professional development sessions with educators.

I’m looking forward to working with MS and HS teachers in Malaysia for two days next week on Blogging.

License: CC0 Public Domain

License: CC0 Public Domain

Preparation and planning began over 3 months ago and the hours involved have steadily increased as the session dates draw near.  Why? How? and What? have been a three-pronged approach to planning these two days so I thought I’d share my learning process with you.

The Why
Blogging is something that I’ve been passionate about since my own early beginnings in using technology to enhance learning first took a hold of me and “lit my fire” so to speak.  It’s also been very important to me to share my passion of the authentic use of technology in the classroom with others. Fast-forward to today – and I’m now heading down the Independent Consultant road and it’s important for me to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.  Which leads to ……

The How
In order to understand the purpose behind the professional development being requested, a meeting with the stakeholder is important. First emails established a connection and then Skype allowed us to connect and talk about expectations and needs surrounding the two days of PD.  This was almost a fact-finding mission to garner as much information as possible about where the school and it’s staff is and where they want to go – how they want to move forward.  It’s inspiring to be a part of a school that wants to move forward, knows that they’re not quite sure how to do that, but willing to bring a stranger in help them achieve their goals.
Enter google docs – a brilliant way to keep track of conversations, planning, resources, ideas, schedules, observations in order to bring everything together. This document was shared with the school stakeholder and became the eventual planning document for how the two professional development days would pan out.

Consulting Experts – I’m very fortunate to have made some life-long friendships with some very, very clever and knowledgable people.  People I would have never connected with, without blogging.  I didn’t get to meet these people face to face for a long time after connecting with them online – but I have been fortunate to have met (and worked with some) my “experts” who I turned to for advice, thoughts, ideas and opinions for this particular PD planning. I guess I was really seeking confirmation that my thinking and planning was on the right track. More specifically that it made sense – that it flowed.

skype with Silvia

Exploring ideas with Silvia

Through skype I had a lovely conversation (and much needed catch up) with my dear friend Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano.  Silvia is a walking plethora of blogging expertise (you must check out her resources that she shares via creative commons with educators all over the world). It was reassuring to share my ideas and thoughts with Silvia and hear her reassurance that my thinking was on-track as well as garner some ideas for working with teachers on a topic that is so vast!

Again, thanks to skype and a spare “hour” in his very, very busy schedule, was a chat with Andrew Churches. I sought out Andrew’s expertise on working with large groups of people, his experience with IB and his amazing work with Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Andrew suggested some brilliant ways to help facilitate the learning beyond “keynote / lecture”.

The use of a google document meant that I was able to share my planning ideas with other consultant experts – namely two very good colleagues (and brilliant friends) Kim Cofino & Dana Watts.  These two amazing ladies have a wealth of experience working with educators in a consultancy context so their feedback on the planning of sessions was invaluable.

While documenting the process that I’m going through to prepare for this PD, I was very extremely grateful that I know some incredibly talented and generous educators.  I was also very much struck by the notion that when you’re globally connected with others, the authentic learning you have the ability to pass on to fellow educators multiplies exponentially.

Stay tuned for Part II ……….