My friend Phillip worries that I do not get out enough, so I convinced him to let me visit and watch him facilitate professional development for his Learnscope project (titled iTubes YouTubes) at AMES at West Coast TAFE (they offer English for Migrant courses). He was a bit concerned as to whether I would actually gain from being at his session, I wasn’t because my aim was to pick up tips for improving how I facilitate professional development. I believe that it is important to actually get out and see how other individuals, Colleges and organisations facilitate their professional development so that you get ideas for how you can improve what you do.
The first thing I learnt was someone has stolen half of St Mary’s Cathedral! When did this happen? Obviously no-one blog about this, or I am subscribing to the wrong blogs, as I missed this important news (perhaps that is what TV is for?).
The focus of their project is to explore the use Elluminate for facilitating PD, encourage communication between participants using tools like Google Talk, explore and create online videos. This is what I gained from Phillip:
- He will be running his sessions both face-to-face (for those able to attend) and using a virtual classroom i.e. Elluminate (mainly for those located in regional areas). I am really keen to see how he goes with using Elluminate for teaching people how to create online videos because it opens up lots of potential
- Showing participants how to use Google Talk is really a good idea
- All links and information for his project are located on one place, their AMES project blog
- He guides his participants through a task, lets them do the task, then takes them completely out of the task and makes them go back in by themselves (without telling them how – to force them to remember the steps or refer to their notes). E.g. Walked them through how to sign in to their blog and then got them to write a blog. He followed with a few other activities such as download and use Google Talk. Then told them shut down all windows and asked them to locate their blog and write a post on how the potential of Google Talk. By doing this he was trying to move them towards being able to do it on their own without him as support
- Last year he ran 10 weekly workshops. Feedback from his participants was weekly sessions were too much because each week they had homework and it did not give adequate time to get the work done. At Challenger TAFE, our Web 2.0 project was once fortnightly and participants commented they lost the skills and momentum so would prefer it to be weekly
- Reward system – last year he used Mars bars etc as rewards for work well done. Participants told me this encourage them to work towards getting the Mars bar
- Any participant who did not have a headset already was given one to take home – this is one less barrier to get a lecturer to use great tools like Elluminate and Google Talk
- I also learnt technology things but I will not blog about them here, as the post is already long enough
Most importantly I liked the idea of the food platter that encouraged everyone to stand around and talk. We normally do sandwiches but this platter was really good.
Thanks Philip and the participants for letting me attend I had a really great time and learnt lots. Sorry I forgot to ask permission from the participants to use the group photo so Phillip can you let me know if it is ok?