What a spectacular learning experience! I can't give enough positive kuddos for this professional learning opportunity. Thank you, Lifeguards!
1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I think I'll use the screencasting and slideshare tools to improve my communication with parents. I am really excited about those possibilities. Seeing really good PowerPoint presentations was inspiring and instructional. I have a lot of work to do in this area, but it's invigorating. I'm doing lots of pondering and mulling about it.
2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
I need to stay current in my specific field and in my instructional techniques. Though I'm not in a classroom in front of students, I advise teachers who are. I am often in a classroom in front of teachers, too. I know I need to model what I want them to do with their sudents. That means integrating technology into my teaching. That means being able to teach the teachers the necessary skills. This program has given me the support I need to do so.
I also really enjoy learning. Since I finished graduate school 2 years ago, I haven't been this excited about learning. It's been very refreshing :)
3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Sometimes a learner can't see the progress he or she has made. They don't remember what a struggle it was when they started. Or, in the case of gifted kids, they learned it so quickly it doesn't feel like they learned something new. I can see my progress. The blog is a great way to document your journey. This applies most to Twitter.
I like Twitter. In a very short time, I've come to find it quite useful professionally. Use it with kids? I don't know. Use it with teachers and others interested in gifted education (#gifted)? DEFINITELY! Tweets have notified me of actions that needed to be taken immediately (advocacy for Javits funding), of articles I haven't seen, of blog posts that are thought-provoking. It's an interesting place to post a question and get a variety of responses. I like that the responses have to be short and succint. I feel this way and I haven't found a third party app that I like to make Twitter easier! (Tweetdeck doesn't seem to work in the district. Twhirl requires a download.)
4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
The one aspect that needs improvement is the interaction among the participants. I've made a point to comment on others' blogs, but not all of them. I've had very few comments from participants other than the Lifeguards.
I'm not sure how you'd encourage, monitor, prompt, require this other than what you're already doing. In the two blog formatted book studies I've done, this has been a problem. I require that participants comment on other participants' posts. Participants usually only do the minimum that I require for the first couple of postings, then it trails off. So this may be something that requires time and familiarity with the format.