I chose option number 2 because I had already created a unit plan for my last project and I wanted something different. I’ve been thinking more and more about presenting at conferences and thought this would be a great time to gain some experience in planning professional development. Our group agreed we were very influenced by the design portion. We really saw it as a great opportunity for effective communication, especially for our 21st-century learners. We wanted to focus on this for our topic. That part was easy – but what we actually wanted to present on and did it fit with our coursework was a bit trickier.
The start of any project is the most difficult and having team members who were spread across 7 time zones made it even more difficult.
Having time to discuss and brainstorm in real time was really helpful for us and we were able to have a few facetime sessions. We used this time to look at the enduring understandings of this course and how that worked with our topic within a professional development framework. Looking back on what kinds of PDs we’ve enjoyed, we agreed that on two things: agency and concrete takeaways. Giving teachers agency on what section they attended would allow teachers to feel an ownership of their learning. Giving teachers some takeaways, nothing big, but as long as it was useful and something they could try – it allowed them to feel successful. We went through and highlighted three enduring understandings:
- Effectively visualizing complex ideas and data is important in our content-rich world.
- Design and layout of information influence effective communication.
- We do not have to be in the same place, at the same time, to collaborate.
We wanted a professional development that would be about collaboration with each of the sections focused on one enduring understanding. We expanded our original interest of design to include feedback so that it could also encompass the collaboration aspect. Now that we had an enduring understanding, we chose the following ISTE standards:
ISTE Standard 2c:
Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
ISTE Standard 4a:
Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.
We chose this standard because we wanted to give teachers new resources that they could use in their field as well as with their students. Teachers will be able to communicate better with their students and impart this knowledge to their students.
After this course, I feel more confident with my skills and ability to be a facilitator and how I can keep my audience’s attention and give a presentation. With some of the design principles under my belt, I’m able to create with the audience in mind. Looking at what I was creating before, there’s only one direction it can go… so I’m happy to be able to improve on it! In addition to design principles, there were plenty of resources for me regarding protocols and I’m happy to add those in my toolbox. It’s actually something I had always wondered about professional development – where was everyone getting all of these protocols??
Even though collaborating online isn’t something I think twice about for my students, it’s not something I think for myself as an educator. I get my students to collaborate online but I forget that I can also do the same. However, it felt different this time around because we created an end product. Getting feedback on my slides and posters were really helpful because I was able to improve on my original work! Collaborating on this final project was a bit different as online communication does not take the place of face to face communication. There were times when we had miscommunication because we read something to mean something else but thankfully technology allows us to have face to face or voice communication and we were able to clear up any confusion. Google docs allowed us to message and ask questions right in the document and that made it really easy for us to follow the conversation rather than in a long email chain.
We created a mini-unit planner to give any facilitator our notes and we created a google slides presentation to go along with it. I think this final project really encompasses a lot of what I learned in course 3. The two big takeaways from this course were collaboration as well as principles of design and our project was focused on these two areas. When writing my blog posts, I was always frustrated at not finding the image I wanted to show or I was limited in my ability to create an infographic that would show what I wanted to say or explain. With the introduction to Easel.ly, I can now create those! In my last blog post, as I was writing about societal identities, I realize I could easily create my own infographic showcasing the different societal identities. This was an aha moment because now I feel less frustrated when I want to show something.
This final project was different for me because I had never created one for professional development before but it was similar to what I do with students in a class. This time instead of creating a lesson plan for students, I’m creating one for educators. Even though the end product might be different and, the methods and delivery are very much the same. I always approach any parent workshop the same way I approach any lesson I am teaching and teaching educators should be no different (except they might be the worst students)!
The outcomes I would really like for educators to come out with is a better understanding and appreciation of why design is an important aspect of teaching students media and technology literacy. Just like we explained in our PD and in our slides, there are many reasons why educators should be thinking about design. In order for our students to be good creators, they need to know these basic design principles! Another goal is to get educators to realize that it’s not just for aesthetic but also for effective communication between creator and audience.