Convincing colleagues that online professional development (PD) is as effective as face-to-face – summary for #ELTchat 06/01/2011
Chat summary contributed by Sandy Millin
- Tell them about all the amazing people you meet / blogs you read / ideas you get / fun you have. Highlight how much you can learn in how little time.
- A big problem is where to start: blogs may be less overwhelming than Twitter.
- Show them a sample of online PD, so they can see what is going on.
- Time is a major issue: many teachers feel PD should take place during work hours, and find it hard to see the reasons for continuing it outside. This is also often connected to the fact that online PD is unpaid.
- Be a stuck record: your colleagues may join in to shut you up!
- People struggle with information overload: we need to find ways to deal with this.
- You could deal with links by favouriting, bookmarking and coming back to them at a later date.
- Not joining in with online PD could mean you don’t really enjoy teaching / joining in with online PD could reinvigorate your teaching when you feel close to burnout.
- It empowers you. You are participating and engaging with ELT.
- Lead by doing: show your colleagues how much your online PD has helped you.
- Share with your colleagues. Send them links that they might find useful. Start a wiki. Use google bookmarks. Post to an Edmodo group. Demonstrate, demonstrate, demonstrate!
- Perception: Twitter is not just for geeks / socialising; You can control your own PD (when, where, how…)
- It changes your practice and your expectations as a teacher.
- Mentor: show someone round and help them take their first steps in Twitter / the blogosphere. Help them move from being digital visitors to digital residents.
- Introduce online PD gradually to give others time to adjust.
- Almost everyone ‘lurks’ for a while before they dive in to contributing on Twitter. This is a good time for adjustment, but many of us commented that people often give up before taking the plunge.
- Recommend people / blogs for newbies to follow.
- The school’s webmaster may block sites, making it harder to join in.
- Access can also be an issue in terms of the availability of PCs, internet etc.
- You end up doing things you never would have imagined doing before [like summarizing a discussion involving people from all over the world]
- Technology v. pedagogy: emphasise the latter if people are reluctant. Don’t forget that technology is difficult for many people.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway! If you keep talking, someone will start listening.
I would like to reiterate that this is my summary of the discussions which took place today. I have used the words of some of the participants directly, but in no way claim them as my own – I wanted to make it a little simpler to find out what was going on, so have avoided crediting everyone. To find out exactly who said what, and to experience the full joy of an #eltc