14 Replies Latest reply on Sep 23, 2010 6:25 PM by holmesg

    Less is More


      I read today an article written by a teacher attending a technology conference.  She started the article by giving a clue on the name of the national presenter but did not provide his name.  It was obvious by the clue, who the person was.   She went on to say that when the discussion turned to 21st century education the focus was largely on here is a new cool too, and her is another, and another and anotherl.  For the grand finale, he took the audience to a website that had 47,000 teachers contributing ideas to it.  According to the writers observation, the vast majority of the audience drifted off into side conversations, checking email, or playing solitaire.


      Her suggestion was to take a few tools and teach teachers to be comfortable with them.  Show the teachers how to use these tools to modify and update lessons to motivate studentsThe author's point was, teachers do not need a massive amount of cool tools thrown at them at once, but rather one or two with in dept instructions on how to successfully integrate it into the curriculum.  In some instances, less is more.


      So what is your strategy for sharing tools to teachers?  How many do you share during a training and what strategies do you use when sharing the tool?

        • Re: Less is More

          Gail, we have started a 'Technology Academy" here in the county where I work.  I will be taking one or two "tools", spend a couple of hours having the teachers learn and use the tool and then having them incorporate that new tool into the lesson plan.  In this case, less is more.


          Another thing that struck me was the idea that 21st Century education is about the computer.  When I hear that word, I think more of the 21st Century Skills that we use in our Intel classes.  You don't always need a computer to use those skills, but you do need the PBL framework!



            • Re: Less is More



              I'm with Neil on much of the thinking here. When I do a training (either Intel Teach or other) I follow a very important concept.



              Sandbox time! http://www.flickr.com/photos/mzn37/562770075/


              Kids explore and play in their sandbox - they come up with new ways to play and often collaborate very well. It is not often to hear children arguing with each while they play in the sandbox.


              Teachers need this same opportunity. When training happens, I help teachers know what the tool is and provide some direct instruction. Teacher are then given time to play in the sandbox and find application for the tool in their own content areas. When teachers are given a tool and time to apply the use of this tool to their classroom, I find they are excited about ways they can help their students learn.

            • Re: Less is More

              I agree with less is more!  In my workshops, I'll usually demonstrate one or two tools (such as an online graphic organizer). Then, I'll give teachers time to explore that tool or other similar ones.  I have also created lists of interactive websites by different subject areas, and I apply the same strategy.  I'll showcase one or two that I particular enjoy.  Give them an hour or so to exlplore all the rest, and then ask them to share at least one that they plan to use.  Sometimes, I'll create a Google Doc, and require them to actually list 1 or 2 tools they plan to use in their classroom and a specific example of how.  It works very well.

              • Re: Less is More
                Bonnie Feather

                To me, there are several factors which determine whether less is more or less is less!

                1. Purpose of the training session
                  • Sometimes I advertise "ten-minute technology" trainings, and participants are expecting to see quick overviews of lots of sites and tools.  This can work for them.
                2. Experience and needs of participants
                  • It probably works better with more experienced participants.  If you know who your audience is, and they have lots of tools, they might not want to spend a lot of time on one they already know.  If you are moving on quickly to another one, they are often happy if they learn a few new ones, even if they are familiar with some shown.  This type of training (if it's clear what the purpose of the session will be) often attracts participants who will take some time to explore further on their own and won't need lots of hand-holding to find great uses for integrating new tools.
                3. Length of session and time for hands-on practice
                  • If the session is long enough to allow participants to select one or two which interest them as individuals and spend some time with it while there is someone at hand to help them if they get stuck, or talk with others about how to integrate a tool, seeing more than they need just now can be less confusing.


                As usual, "It depends!"


                There is no substitute for good planning and that depends on the information you have about your learners.



                  • Re: Less is More


                    I think what you are saying is the presenter must know the audience to whom the presentation is focused.  Knowing the audience can help the presenter determine if less or more is required to meet the goals of the presentation.

                    • Re: Less is More


                      I so agree with you in determining whether less is more or less is less.  I hold a weekly Hornet Cafe' where I share 1 tool during teacher's lunchtime (20 to 25 minutes).  I show examples and a quick navigation of the tool.  Follow up after school is provided to those who are interested in using it.  We use Bubbl.us to take notes about how they might use it.  I've had several teachers to have a-ha moments when we begin discussing how they can use it as compared to showing examples.


                      I have also conducted trainings where I give a list to explore, time to do this and a share out of what they found useful.  And this depends on the experience of the group.  As you said, "it depends". 

                        • Re: Less is More

                          Mindmeister is another tool that you might explore.  Students can save and return to the site to continue working on it or download and save the document to the computer or print it out.  I have introduced it to students with success.  If you have not already see it, explore it to see if it is worth sharing with your students.