How I personalised the PD

One-off keynotes or professional learning events are always an exciting challenge – such a short period of time and an unknown range of learning needs, expertise and interest in the room.

Last week, I had the pleasure of working with 130 teachers from three schools in Auckland, two primary and one intermediate. It was a large ‘class’ (although they were very well behaved!;-) – but, in such a large room, how to ….

  • offer multiple ways to engage with the ideas?
  • personalise the learning?
  • percolate ideas across a room of 130 over four hours?
  • ensure we captured the learning to build on after the day?
  • share and articulate our thinking?
  • link everyone to wider resources and people beyond the room for further exploration and learning?

In other words, how to try and walk the talk?

With the power of a strong wireless connection (and with one eye on the promise of UFB), here’s how I did it:

  • Set up a Google site for the dayGoogle site logo
  • Set up ‘virtual rooms’ using pages on the site, each linked to activities on themes that had been signalled as relevant to the schools before the day (the most popular being the effective use of e-learning in the classroom)
  • Included links to key resources on the site, contextualised in their chosen themes e.g. BYOD resources provided for those who had chosen this theme – and made sure those resources were aligned to the e-Learning Planning Framework so teachers could come back to them as they reviewed practice in the future;
  • Presented information using a variety of means:  paper, stickies, streamers, movement around the room, share ideas online, multi-media (via Keynote), stories of practices underpinned by reference to research;
  • Provided a space to record, share and discuss ideas and questions via a Twitter backchannel – #3schools1day – and Google Moderator
  • Set-up Google docs to capture the thinking during discussions – a shared resource to see what the thinking was across the room on the day and for planning afterwards.

Having a strong connection was clearly vital – but so was having a group of teachers who had their own devices, were enthusiastic and keen to connect, and had a history of belonging to their own collaborative cluster.

Many thanks to Point View, Somerville and Willowbank for hosting me for the morning.


(Image: ‘pencils’ – by aland; Google sites)

2 thoughts on “How I personalised the PD

  1. Thanks Karen. I found myself reflecting on another session of yours that I attended, and identified many of these elements. I wonder how far often we as classroom teachers, ensure these elements are covered. Great to bring it to the front for those delivering pd to staff and those delivering quality learning all day every day. Thanks


  2. Thanks for stopping by, Steph, and for your lovely comments:-) You raise a great point, and I wonder if it’s a level of mindfulness and reflection that partly requires time to cultivate until it’s habitual – and partly time to get really familiar with the curriculum, with what the actual process of learning might look like for our students.
    I often use a really simple structure for sessions – ‘Know – Recognise – Do’ which a colleague once shard with me; ‘know’ (activity to cue up prior knowledge), ‘recognise’ to introduce new ideas and compare with prior knowledge, and ‘do’, apply the new/changed thinking in an authentic context. It may sound over-simple but it’s quite a helpful framework to keep the pedagogy of the NZC to the fore:-)


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