Wednesday, September 11, 2013

23 Things: So Far, So Fun

This week is the kick off for our 23 Things program. 23 Things is an online professional development training course about web 2.0 tools. The 3 librarians and 3 educational technologists from our k-12 school teamed up to create a 10 week 23 Things course that we tailored to our community and the online resources we use at our school as well as other free resources worth playing with. So far we have 52 people signed up - teachers, administrators, staff, and maintenance workers. This week is dedicated to getting everyone into our Schoology (our classroom management system)  course and introducing themselves. People are making friends and connections already by commenting on each others' short introductions which include our roles at the schools, a fun fact, and favorite cookie. I have learned a lot just by the favorite cookie answers, which was a surprise!
Our school is on two campuses so sometimes we don't know many of our colleagues. I am hoping that this course, along with teaching new skills and giving time to play on line, will also bring our community closer together.

The six leaders of the 23 Things course have been collaborating for several months while we decided what 23 Things to teach, who wanted to take which things and write those lessons, and now how to organize looking after, or mentoring, a surprising 52 participants. We have decided to randomly split up the list, each taking 8-9 participants to shepherd through the course. We will check in on them, make sure they are completing the courses, and give them comments on their blogs.

One of the fun ideas that came up in a planning meeting in June was to style each short lesson as a dinner party. So, each lesson has a particular format:
SET THE TABLE: This is where you get a background for a Thing.
MAIN COURSE: Thing lesson.
 SIDE DISHES : A few links and more information related to the Thing. 
BRING YOUR DISH TO THE TABLE: A detailed activity for you to do, so you get experience with the Thing (often involving creating an account or making a blog post).
KICK IT UP A NOTCH: This is like extra credit for go getters. If you want to do more with the Thing, do this optional activity. 
DESSERT: Reflection, usually a discussion in Schoology (this will be located in a discussion thread that is in the same week's folder as the Thing).

Week One, Thing One, is making a Blogger blog to be used as a platform for many of our exercises. I am going to use this blog as my 23 Things Blog, so I can comment on our lessons and reflect on how the course is going. So, if you are instituting something like this at your school, stay tuned! I will write about many of the things and do the lesson exercises here, while also reflecting on the process of leading this type of professional development.

During this time I will also continue with the Maker Break program we are doing. We have Legos out this week, and some upper schoolers seemed interested but nothing too fabulous has happened so far. We had more success with origami, where we had specific things for them to make. See pictures and notes on twitter or instagram (bwslibrary).

Have you run or participated in a 23 Things course? Have any tips for us? Thanks!

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