Monday, May 4, 2015

Library Mini-TeachMeets–Professional Development for Faculty Members

Looking back, I remember when I first became extremely excited about how technology can enhance teaching and learning. It was when I attended my very first Nashville TeachMeet. I wasn’t sure what to expect but felt that I should see what the hype was about.  I immediately began sharing some of the wonderful tools and concepts I had learned.  I was sharing it with everyone (family, friends, colleagues, etc.).  One of my friends commented that I was talking so fast that she could readily tell that I was extremely excited. 

I appreciate everything a TeachMeet represents. One can learn a technology concept and tool within 20 minutes.  If it captures your interest, you can focus your attention and learn more about it on your own later.  Being rejuvenated after attending this event, I was anxious to share the concept with my colleagues at school.  

I introduced the concept of TeachMeets at one of our school in-services by doing a presentation highlighting some of the items I learned about from the Nashville TeachMeet.  After the presentation, I told the faculty that I would be conducting Mini-TeachMeets one day after school each month.  Essentially, I would share one “cool tool” by introducing it and showing how it works.  During the remaining time, teachers would have time to explore the tool.  Currently, the Mini-TeachMeets are online instead of after school.  Teachers receive a certificate of participation that they may include in their Professional Notebook (which is submitted to their supervising principal). The names of all participants are entered in a monthly drawing for a surprise gift.  Participants will not be eligible to win a monthly drawing more than once during the school year.  This will increase the opportunities for everyone to be a winner.  In addition, every time a person participates his/her name is submitted for the end-of-year drawing.  The more TeachMeets one attends increases the chance for the end-of-year prize.  Teachers also complete a survey to help me determine the effectiveness of the sessions.

Participants have given positive feedback about the value they see in the tools and how much they look forward to the next month’s session.  Several teachers commented that they appreciate having the opportunity to view the TeachMeets online because of the convenience.  Some of the tools that have been highlighted in the Mini-TeachMeets include:  EasyBib, Learning Express Library, Tennessee Electronic Library, Transparent Language, TedEd, TeachingBooks, Stoodle, QR Codes, Animoto, Hoopla, Freegal, Edmodo, Screenr, SlideRocket, StudyBlue, Mango Languages, DropBox, Evernote, etc.

Mini-TeachMeets help to keep me abreast of innovative educational tools.  TeachMeets have definitely made a difference in my life, and I hope it is making a difference for others. 

MNPS Teacher-Librarian

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