We have held 2 successful unconference sessions (week 3 and week 7) this Term which have really benefitted staff and had a positive effect on ICT integration throughout the school. We thought about holding e-cafes before and after school throughout the Term but decided instead on 2 blocks after school from 3-5pm with workshops which people signed up for. The expectation was to attend at least 2 of the sessions each time as this is providing staff with support to achieve their individual ICT Goal which forms part of their performance management.
The first unconference covered KnowledgeNET - setting up class pages, Inquiry - sharing what each of the different Pods (Year 0-2, Year 3-4 and Year 5-6) had done in Term 1 when we had a big focus on inquiry throughout the school on different topics. The last session was on Photostory which staff who attended Learning@schools had learned about. This is a fantastic, easy to use slideshow program which is free to download and can be worked on off-line which benefits those of us who have internet difficulties!
The second unconference covered blogging - ideas for putting things on to your blog and how to integrate using blogging in to reading and writing time and smartboard tools with a particular focus on using SMART notebook with projectors as we only have 1 smartboard per year level at the moment.
I have now presented at the Cluster share last Term, held a blogging session during the Term 1 holidays and shared at two in-school unconferences. I am holding a session on KnowledgeNET class pages for the junior team in the Term 2 holidays and also presenting at the Cluster Expo and KP and I will be holding a blogging wine and nibbles evening early in Term 3 to further support staff. I am lucky to have some extra release time to prepare for all this.
I am wondering where to next for myself as I am always keen to help others and learn new things to extend my skills and knowledge which is essential if you are in a lead role, however, I am finding it a struggle to maintain the high standards I expect from myself with regard to my classroom teaching and at the same time build my integration of ICT skills further while at the same time supporting my team and other staff members and still make time for further professional development myself! I hope I can have more opportunities to attend professional development during release time so I can fully focus my attention on this vital area. We have gained good momentum with staff motivation and application of new ideas and this has been largely due to the release that has been available. I think release to prepare allows quality support for others.