Thursday, October 27, 2011

Teaching Teachers to Improve Learning with Social Media


I often use the "TV Cooking Show" strategy when teaching teachers how to use integrated social media (SM) and professional development (PD) tools in our learning community. 

Step 1: Remind the audience about how a TV cooking show works:

  • Cooking TV Show Example: First, the TV chef shows a finished greek salad to help the audience envision the final product. Then, the chef takes the audience through the ingredients needed, steps to "prepare" the salad, and, finally, how to serve the salad. In some shows, the audience actually tastes the salad.

Step 2: Begin your demonstration of the integrated SM and PD tools in this manner:

  • Integrated SM and PD example: First, I show a quality standards-based lesson with results from a classroom implementation to help the audience envision the final product. Then, I take the teacher audience through the online PD tools and materials that a teacher used to construct the lesson and, finally, to share the lesson and results with integrated SM. In our case, the audience "tastes" the lesson by accessing it as a WikiTask to adopt or adapt for their classrooms.

Payoff: I think this process works effectively because it keeps the audience focused on teaching and student learning while learning how to use the integrated SM and PD tools. Teachers see how a lesson that produced positive student results was developed with integrated SM and PD tools in less time than conventional ways -- and was shared with teacher colleagues instantly.

I hope you can adapt this strategy in your PD efforts. Please let me know what you think and how it works for you.

Nick Hobar

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Facilitating Instruction and Learning

Dear Colleagues,

In the research on the systematic observation of face-to-face classroom teaching, facilitated instruction is characterized by teacher verbal behaviors that pose problem-structured statements and reinforce, accept, and clarify student responses (Flanders and Withall among numerous others). This model envisions a 25% [teacher] to 75% [student] talk ratio -- the opposite of current classrooms. 

Here's an example of how we are exploring the facilitation model of instruction and learning as "facilitated" in the Twitter timeline to achieve specific content standards. The example shows the 25% teacher "talk" side of the model -- it would be adjusted dynamically as the 75% student side of the conversation is tweeted in real time.