Students teaching the teachers – the best tech PD comes from kids #ipadkl

One of my jobs in the last few weeks has been to share professional learning back to the other teachers in the school. Way back in September last year I attended the iPad summit ISKL. It’s been almost 6 months since the conference, which may seem a long time to go between attendance and feeding back to the teachers at my school.

However there was an unexpected benefit to the timing.

Since the conference, I had really bedded in some of the lessons from summit into my classroom practice. Over the course of the year iPads went from being something the kids never use, to something they use every day. So rather than me get up and say ‘here’s what they talked about this conference I attended last month,’ I figured I’d follow ISKL’s lead and have the kids in my class lead the session.

This may seem the easy way out but it actually turned out to be a lot more work.

  • I needed to write letters and gain permission from parents as it was after school.
  • I had co-construct with the kids which Apps they should be showcasing.
  • I helped set the kids up for success by having them think about what they wanted to say and actually practice saying it.

However the pay off in learning especially for the children was huge.

  • The children were able to show leadership through helping others.
  • A student who often makes unwise decisions was able to share learning and help. Other teachers got to see another side to this child.
  • Students who are normally shy in class were able to speak with confidence to adults in the room.
  • The kids got to see the hidden world of teachers PD. Are kids even aware of the learning that goes on behind closed doors?

The best part?

I didn’t hand pick students for this event, I just used the kids in my class who had time to help out. With swim team photos and soccer practice on after school today, the most proficient users of ICT in my class weren’t available.

Yet the more I think about, that’s the way it should be.

Anyone should be able to come into a class I teach and ask any kid what they are doing with the technology and why they using this particular piece of technology to support their learning.

It’s easy for teachers to get up and talk, showing off the latest flashy tool or new app. The true test of their teaching is that the children can show an understanding to help others.

I think the kids did that today.

IMG_8116
Demonstrating using words their way on iPads
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