Thursday, January 22, 2015

Digital Diner Idea Explosion

   I lead a series of training for my faculty called the Digital Diner.  The sessions are held throughout the year and focus on a different technology application.  Topic get selected based on the conversations I have with teachers throughout the year about their technology interests as well as survey data I collect.  Teachers are invited to attend on their prep hour and earn professional development credit for their participation.  The "diner" element of the trainings is that my wife cooks a home made treat for each session.  There is always a joking question if teachers attend the trainings because the instruction is so good; or if it is because of the food.

   Recently I led a Digital Diner session on screencasting during December with my faculty.  The session had nine teachers attend throughout the day, including three teachers who attended a Diner for the first time.  We used the video capture features of Tech Smith Snagit as our platform for the session.  

   During the session, I modeled how the Tech Smith Snag it extension worked and showed them the options to save/post them online through Google Drive or YouTube.  Then teachers were asked to a create a practice screen cast presentation and  share it. We also looked briefly at how to combine presentations with Educannon and add assessment questions throughout their video creations.

   My original goal with the session was to teach the teachers how to create brief screencast presentations which could be used to assist absent students in getting caught up or to faciliate learning. opportunities during snow days.  (This was why the diner treat for this session was snowcones) However, throughout the day, teachers continued to offer great ideas of ways screencasts could help their students that went way beyond helping students to stay caught up.  Among their ideas, were to allow students who master content earlier than their peers to create screencasts of concepts and to have students who serve as tutors in a new peer tutoring program at Lakeside to develop them for the students they are assisting.          

   Another great idea that came out during the day was to use screencasting as a parent involvement piece.  Teachers who create these screen casts and post them online could help our parents to "learn" the content their students are working with in class each day.  This could put parents in a better position to assist, and also to have a clearer picture of what their students are learning.    

   In many ways this was one of the most successful Digital Diners yet.  Several teachers attended the Diner for the first time.  But it was also a great success because of the explosion of possible classroom applications that the attendees generated. I look forward to seeing where my teachers will take the concept of screencasting and how it will benefit our learning community!