Friday, May 6, 2011

Leyden Lunch and Learn: Blogs, wikis, nings, Google sites

Last week, our media center staff (Carolyn Browne, Judy Condren, Denise Monegato, and Susan Peterson, led by Department Chair Janine Asmus) planned a weeklong learning experience for teachers called "Lunch and Learn." For the week of May 2 through 6, teachers could come into the media center, eat lunch and learn about blogs, wikis, nings, or Google sites, among other things.

We had over 70 teachers sign up, eat some pretty good food, and learn. Most importantly, they got to learn from their colleagues who may have already tried these things with students, and they got they opportunity to get their hands dirty in the wonderful world of Web 2.0.

Whether they were brand new to these tools or are old pros, it was great to see so many people from all different departments learning from one another.

I can see that this format may just work for other tech-related topics, such as iGoogle, Google Docs, Blogs and RSS feeds, SMART Boards, podcasting, building a Professional Learning Network using Twitter and Blogs, or advanced eSchool use. I'm not kidding here: there are easily-overlooked features in eSchool that can really make your life and the lives of your students easier.

There are plenty of Leyden created blogs, wikis, and nings out there. After this week, there will be plenty more. I'll be working to put them together in one spot so we can all see what our colleagues are doing with kids right now. I didn't even realize what all you have been working on. Did you watch the video above? That could just as easily be us.

Of course, the creators of these items are their own harshest critics; they will tell you right away what's wrong with these projects. My opinion is, even if it doesn't work perfectly right off the bat, giving it a try is worth a lot. Besides the value of your own learning as a professional, your students are writing, interacting, and creating. You can't complain too much about that.

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