Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Take Your Student to Staff Development Day

From a post by Will Richardson:
This superintendent wanted to learn more about podcasting and signed up for a workshop at a local school. He knew, however, that the technology would probably be a bit over his head, so he invited one of his students to go along with him. Sure enough, within a short time, the superintendent was feeling overwhelmed, but “Travis” kept nodding his head reassuringly. When they left, Travis told him that everything was under control, and he’s since taken a lead role at getting podcasting going at the school. And the best part for the superintendent is that Travis is just a freshman. “I’ve found a tech mentor who will be here for three more years,” he said.
I've been thinking about this some as well, although not so much from a conference or technology perspective. I've been wondering if there is any way to have more of a student presence at our sessions (and the sessions for cohort 2) next year. We had students come in briefly once this year (to talk about the fishbowl technique), but I'd like to find a way that they were more of a regular presence, not a special, one-time "presentation" like this year. I could see ways with variable scheduling that we could have students come if they have unscheduled time, but I think it would work better if there was a core group of students that were participating on a regular basis. They would get a better feel for the sessions and what we are trying to accomplish, and would probably feel more comfortable speaking up if they were "regulars." But I'm not quite sure how to arrange that without adversely affecting their schedules. Any ideas? I just think it would be great to have Molly and Shamita and Spencer and . . . well, all the students who have been making us think harder about what we do - be part of some of our discussions. We might also be able to use them - or different students - to help us with some of the tech pieces, but I'm more interested in their perspectives on the theory and practice pieces, not so much the tech tools.

So, instead of "Take Your Daughter to Work Day," we could have "Take Your Student to Staff Development Day." Maybe we could get Hallmark to make a card . . .

Listen to the Podcast.


  1. I think that bringing students to staff development would be great. Especially students like Molly and Spencer and Shamita. I've only had Spencer, but the insight I've gained by reading Molly and Shamita's comments on this blog and other class blogs has been truly valuable. And you're right...I most value what they have to say about theory and practices.

    As far as ideas for making it work...when we developed the Link Crew Class, we gave students two credits--one for coming to zero hour each week, and the other credit for logging 18 hours worth of contact time with freshman. Maybe we could create some sort of 1 credit (18 hour) elective class. They could log some of the hours by coming to the first hour of our class. (I'm not sure how that would look in terms of their 4th hour class...). Maybe they could earn the other hours of the credit by commenting/posting on our blogs. We'd have to think about how to log that (forcing them to comment might take away some of their sincerity), but if we're hand picking these kids, we hopefully wouldn't have a problem with it. I don't know, just the beginnings of an idea...

  2. This is an intersting Idea. There are many students who like leadership roles. They are faster learners of technology than most 40 year olds. Can you imaginge the pride some students would get if they could be a technology leader in a classroom. The fear of learning for some teachers would evaporate if they were learning along with the other students from the classroom technology leader. I have several students who blog with such passion on some of my sites that I invited them to be part of a problem solving site. They post problems for other students to solve. Perhaps in the near future they will get admin access to their class sites and be another set of eyes and ears helping other students get their assignments done.

    Thanks for the comment on my To blog or not to blog inservice blog.

    I think you asked how I found out about you and your projects. It is simple. Darren Kuropatwa and his inservices.

    Thanks for the interesting post.

    Chris Harbeck

  3. I like the idea. If you get it started, I'd love to be involved. I think it could potentially be pretty useful to have students helping out. Like Mr. H said, most of us are pretty comfortable with technology, I'm sure we could think of some pretty interesting new ways to work tech into learning. Even in the theatre, we use technology constantly in ever-changing ways, if we applied those skills and ideas to the classroom, we could get far.

  4. I think there is a lot that we can learn from the talented students at our school. I know I have spent time in class this semester asking students about changes that have been made in class and the positive or negative affects. This is a great resource at the school and the students are going to see the greatest affect of the changes that we are trying to make so they should have some input into the process.

  5. Andrew Blackie and Alyssa Barton have offered great technical advise this year and would be two other good candidates to come and discuss ideas with us.