This past summer the teachers at PCHS was given the opportunity to partake in various technology centered staff development opportunities. Meg Ormiston came to Paris (something she brags about for some reason…)and spent five wonderful days showing the staff a lot of web 2.0 tools, and best of all she gave them time to talk about them, work with them, and figure out how to integrate them into classes. We also we able to invite Nancy Brachbill and Shannon Smith of RecessTek to come to PCHS for four days right before school started. They helped teachers learn how to make their interactive white boards come alive (at the high school level…even!) as well as shared their expertise on using web based tools to enhance classroom instruction and bolster student learning and achievement.
So Why a Smackdown?
Our cooperative school begins each year with several half-day inservices and I wanted to be able to showcase what our teachers had learned to do. I had heard about various technology smackdowns taking place at various conferences, and even though I had never been to one, I thought I would try to create one using the expertise of our teachers. I created a Google Form to sign up. I was pleased to have 15 (or about 40% of the teachers sign up!) I set one afternoon aside for them to do their demonstrations. The staff seemed to be very engaged, infact, several teachers started a backchannel on twitter to discuss what was going on. As we approached the end of the time allowed, about five teachers had not had the chance to present yet. I agreed to let them extend the “smackdown” into the next day. The following day when we were finished, we released staff to go and visit the presenters to talk about items of interest in more depth. In my opinion, a very useful two days! I am collecting the opinion of my staff and you can see the results here.