The Reflection Pool

Jump Start Your PD

Did you wish you could do this at the last meeting or learning session you attended?

Boring Presentation

Maybe you did! Or maybe you just spent most of the time surreptitiously checking your email or texting your friends and family. Maybe you even arranged a “fake call”, so you could get out of the session early.

Time for a reflective question:

Do people ever feel like that in your meetings or learning sessions?

(If you don’t know the answer to this question, ask for some honest feedback. It’s the best way to find out.)

We all know that the problem of boring PD and meetings is a common one.  Many books have been written about it, including Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni, which I recommend. While I can’t fix all your problems in this area (you’ll have to do some hard work on your own), I can share this experience.

The third topic in ETMOOC (Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course) was all about digital storytelling.  Alan Levine, @cogdog, recently presented a session on this topic as part of the course.  In it, he talked about how the energy in a room changes when people are asked to contribute creative ideas or add parts to a story. My brain lit up when this exact thing happened at our latest learning session.

Organizers of ETMOOC had challenged us to experiment with digital storytelling.  Six Word Stories caught my attention immediately. They present a seemingly simple challenge but are difficult to get right. I introduced them to staff at the beginning of the  session and shared Hemingway’s legendary efforts, said to be the genesis of the genre. Then I challenged staff to come up with their own six word stories about school life. Wow! The energy in the room changed. People talked. People collaborated. People scribbled. And there was a lot of laughter.  When we shared our stories, topics ranged from disgruntled rants about our parking lot to inspirational words about newcomer experiences at our school. It was a great way to see what people were thinking about as well as introduce a new teaching idea for a classroom. It also set the stage for the discussions that followed, as staff had had a chance to share something personal and have some fun.

What about you?  At your next session, how can you expand the energy in the room?