December 23, 2015 by Dr. Robbie Barber
We talk about personalized learning and then too often we declare that only teachers who are “connected” can do personalized learning. That’s not a very personal declaration. For all sorts of reasons, many teachers will never connect on Twitter or other social media. But they can still handle teaching with technology and even excel at it.
There was a lot of technology thrown at my teachers this year including Edmodo, Safari Montage, MackinVia, Overdrive and many more. Despite my best efforts, I am only getting a small cadre of teachers to attend my #TicklingTech sessions on Friday morning. Not everyone can arrive before report time and many of those that do have other meetings and responsiblities. I needed to personalize my teaching for my teachers.
I created a tri-fold brochure using Publisher. It has about 10 sections highlighting the most important websites the teachers need to access this year. I included the Edmodo codes for our school and the ones for lesson planning. I printed a copy for every teacher and put it in their mailboxes a month after school started so it didn’t get lost in the first two weeks of materials. Then I printed an additional 100 copies to leave on my desk.
Every time a teacher asked how to get X, Y, or Z, I grabbed a brochure, circled with highlighter the information and handed it to them. If the same person came in later in the day for A, B, or C, I grabbed a brochure, circled with the highlighter the information and handed it to them. It does not matter that this same teacher now has three copies of the same brochure. To be honest, they lost the first one. They used it for the second thing but did not explore. Now, after the third brochure, they may start to view the whole thing.
This may sound like a waste of paper to you, but it isn’t. Some teachers (and some students) need a tactile item to hold to learn better. The reality is that every time a teacher asks how to access another piece of technology, I win. So does the teacher AND especially the students. I need to personalize my teaching more and find a way to touch 100 staff members without having to do everything one-on-one. What works best for you?