45 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2010 8:07 AM by njessup

    Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support




      When it comes to being a great Intel Teach MT/ST,facilitator successful support is the key.  In this discussion, we’re brainstorming ways that we can help make every participant’s experience successful.



      Every contribution is entered into the drawing for an Amazon Kindle, so share often and keep coming back to explore the list.


      Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we can only ship prizes within the US




      • Always be ready to help a teacher brainstorm project ideas.  The best part of the Intel Teach courses is the chance for teachers to discuss and collaborate.
      • Snacks always make life better.  We often bring chocolate, cookies or other treats to help get the creative juices flowing.
      • Always be organized and able to lead participants through the learning process
      • Be well versed in the intel.com/teachers website.  Knowing where the project examples, tools, and resources helps your course run smoothly.
      • Be able to provided feedback and suggestions for improving the learning experience




      What other suggestions do you have to help make each training a success. Add to this list for a chance to win an Amazon Kindle.


      Note: The incentivized discussion period has concluded. A drawing was held and the winner was notified.

        • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support- Win a Kindle

          I've found that preparing your participants before the class ever starts is very helpful.

          • Send a welcoming email and introduce yourself.

          • List all the supplies you want them to bring-laptop, flash drive, highlighter, pens/pencils, and so on.

          • Provide them with links to the Intel website, the Engage Community, and the wiki you create ahead of time and have them join or sign up as necessary.

          • Suggest that they set up a social bookmarking site if they don't already have one.


          During the class, make sure you remind them that the trainers have all been in their shoes and have survived!  And chocolate is always good.

          • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support- Win a Kindle



            When I do a PT training, I find it very helpful to send out reminder emails a day or so prior to our next meeting. These emails indicate where and when we will meet, what we will work on, what teachers may want to bring and invite questions to be submitted.


            For MT trainings, I find it helps a lot to model using questioning techniques with the teachers. One group of MTs indicated they felt much more comfortable not "directly answering questions but having discussions" due to this modeling.

            • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support- Win a Kindle

              Preparation, preparation, preparation.  The more prepared I am the better the training goes!   I know preparation is different for every person - but I am looking forward to seeing what things are in your backpacks.!

              • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                One of the keys to success for my trainings is that I make sure I am totally familiar with all the unit plans in the Designing Effective Projects site. So often it is critical to share these with teachers as they are stuck on either a project idea, or their CFQ's - and I find that when they read about what other teachers are doing, they can then move forward. In addition to the DEP unit plan, I also have lots of other unit ideas I verbally share with participants that I have seen developed over the years. So prior to every training, I review, review, review.

                • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                  I also find my trainings go MUCH better if I match my manual with agenda spreadsheets.  I use mini post-its to mark the manual with times I should be on each page.  It reminds me of breaks and milestones. 

                  • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                    There's a big difference in preparation depending on where the training will be held.  If the participants are coming to my location, I have to make sure they know how to get here, where to park (including getting parking permits), and how to find the room. I need to have power strips set up, and posted information on connecting to the wireless. Of course they need to know where the bathrooms are.


                    If I am going to their location, all that information needs to get to me -- hopefully before I show up! Especially important is the technology connectivity.  Make friends with the tech person at the district and find out what is blocked -- and if you might possibly maybe pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top could unblock these sites for me this week (and keep them open for your teachers after I am gone)?

                    • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                      Vanessa, I have started creating "generic" agendas for my trainings.  That way, I have more time to plan for each training, and add or take away those areas that may or may not be needed at a particular school.  It has really helped me cut down on the "creating the agenda" time that I used to spend.



                      • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                        One tip that has been touched upon but cannot be stressed enough is to really become familiar and comfortable with the content. Especially content such as the CFQs since this is an area teachers typically struggle with. This will greatly improve the facilitator's ability to assist participants with their unit plans and help them to make strong connections to their teaching.

                        • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                          There are so many great ideas already in this discussion. I will just add some minor, but important to me ideas.


                          With students, it is important to not only engage them with concrete instructional material, but to also have them buy in through social/behavioral ownership. If they like the environment or identify with enjoyable aspects of the environment, they may be more likely to retain and use the instructional material. Same goes with teachers. Sit and listen doesn't always work well.


                          Especially in multi-day workshops or learning programs, pull the participants into the fun of the training. Honor participants throughout the day with a lighthearted 'great idea' or 'active participant' encouragement awards. We adults may feel silly sharing the ocassional Whoop!, but if the participants can relax and share in the experience with their co-participants, then we may be making deeper connections not only into the instructional plan, but also connecting to other teachers and building on to their professional learning network.


                          My 2 cents.

                          • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                            This is one of the initial letters that I send out to my participants.

                            • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                              Here are some facilitator tricks that come to mind:


                              1. Make links within all supporting websites.  For example, you might use an engage group, wiki, blog, or something else for your specific group.  Make sure they are linked together so that the participants can keep up with you and won't struggle trying to "see" what everyone else is seeing.


                              2.  Invite participants to visit the various places, set up gmail, delicious, etc. before you meet.  Especially, remind them to KEEP all passwords and logins that are provided to them by Intel Teach or the other major players.  You won't get 100% to "pre-visit" but you will get some and that will reduce confusion during the workshop.


                              3.  Have two computers available for the presenter.  When possible, two projectors (really cool).  So, one computer is displaying directions or locations to the group via a projector.  The second is sitting right next to that computer but is showing facilitator notes, or the next page in the digital viewer or ppt so that you know what is coming up as the participants work.  I use a pair of laptops and set them up together.  It is helpful also when you need to make an adjustment, correction, or check out a link during the activities without causing a distraction.

                              • Arc of Support
                                Bonnie Feather

                                I know it has already been mentioned that teachers have a list of logins and links to sites which will be used during the course.  It can be even more helpful if it is annotated, and if the participants may add more annotation.  I have sometimes created a wiki in addition to using the community for this purpose because in Essentials we are showing uses of wikis.


                                One you may want to look at is: this wiki from a TwT MT course I led this summer.  The teachers and administrators really enjoyed having a place to gather links and materials outside the community, though they used the community extensively as well!



                                • Arc of Support
                                  Bonnie Feather

                                  Oh, I just remembered something else!


                                  When we begin groups, we never know just how seriously they will take our break time guidelines.  My first Intel trainer gave us each a small paper on which to write our names when we returned before the timer went off.


                                  Names were added to a container and drawn for prizes the last day.


                                  I have been collecting Intel treats unused from trainings and those we get to order once in a while in the community when there is an announcement of materials available for free.  I use these treats along with other ones I pick up here and there (often goodies from conferences, supplemented with a candy bar or other small prize if needed) and I allow teachers to choose their prize when their name is drawn.


                                  Of course it can be done daily or saved up for a big drawing on the last day.  Teachers get to decide before the drawing whether to ignore names when they are drawn multiple times.


                                  It's a small thing, but they love it, and I don't have to worry about people arriving for training and coming back from breaks on time!

                                  • Arc of Support
                                    Bonnie Feather

                                    I've been pondering how to keep folks in the community after their training is completed.  I know that often they don't think about Intel for a while, until they are ordering materials for a training, if they have done a MT course.


                                    Also, those who are being trained as PTs might not explore deeply in the community during their courses.


                                    I see the Community as one way to keep providing support to PTs and MTs after their training, but I am trying to gather ideas of how best to *snag* them before they finish their trainings and make them want to maintain their relationship with the community.


                                    Any ideas?

                                      • Re: Arc of Support



                                        I used the Engage Community to support my last Essentials training. I reminded the teachers every day that they could reach me and the entire community with questions after our training. Several times in the training, I pointed out how the Engage Community could help answer the question. I've seen several of those participants active in the community since the training. (I wish it had been everyone who continued participating.)


                                        How can we support and engage these new participants in the community such that they want to regularly visit and share with all of us?

                                          • Re: Arc of Support

                                            I am starting a new thinking tools training in two weeks.  It will be my plan to include as an assignment an activity involving the community at the completion of each module.  Since I will have created the group in the community, exploring one tool in the communityafter each module should not appear as something extra.

                                            • Re: Arc of Support
                                              Bonnie Feather

                                              I wonder if it would help if we highlighted one discussion each day, or sent them a link to a discussion which might shed light on something that came up during training?  We would need to remind them to login before clicking the link...


                                              Are there particular areas of the community or particular discussions you think would be beneficial and exciting for all our participants?   I think the "What's in your bag?" and "Favorite web 2.0 tool" discussions would be enticing to learners...

                                                • Re: Arc of Support

                                                  I have found creating discussion questions on curriculum such as mastery learning model, best practices, assessment, etc. works in my school district.  Providing a resource that helps them connect theory to practice has been very helpful.

                                            • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                                              Another suggestion would be to have participants works in pairs. Have participants identify their strengths and comfort level and pair them with others. Working with another oftentimes will reduce the stress of learning a new application. That adds support for the development of a successful experience.

                                              • Re: Facilitator's Backpack- Episode 1: Ark of Support

                                                I think it is very important to know ahead of time the skill level of the those you are instructing to help guide your pacing.