Back in May of 2014, I was teaching a group of 8th graders about interviewing skills. On my drive to work I thought…how in the WORLD do you make interview skills exciting to 8th graders? About that time I heard a radio ad for speed dating which got my wheels turning…what if………??(You can read the full story here.)
Fast forward to July 2014 and an inspiring Ignite talk at #ISTE2014 by Jennie Magiera on taking charge of our professional development as educators, I devised a plan to allow our STLP students to energize and inspire our teachers during at least ONE faculty meeting this school year.
WHAT IN THE WORLD?! SPEED DATING IN A FACULTY MEETING?
I firmly believe that a consistent problem with edTech today is that teachers are frequently overwhelmed. I received a text message just last night from a teacher in my building that said “I need small refreshing sips instead of big gurgling gulps.” I think this statement is a perfect representation of how “techy” teacher leaders need to approach the introduction of new tools to colleagues. The concept of “speed dating” is the perfect outline to introduce new concepts to a room full of teachers. With a 3 minute maximum time limit, teachers hear just enough information to decide…”YES I love it!” or….”Nah, pass.” There is not enough time to get distracted, to check their phones or emails, to emotionally ‘check out’ from the content being given. Additionally, I created a “speed dating” scorecard for teachers to “score” the technology being demonstrated which added another layer of teacher engagement …and fun to the experience.
SO WHO LEADS THE EVENT?
I created iSupport as a branch of STLP, which consists of a small group of students trained to assist teachers with technical problems and provide support for when they are implementing new technology into their classroom. Our iSupport team members each chose one favorite app or website. They created a 3 minute presentation that was to highlight basic use and to summarize ideas for classroom implementation in order to present to a small group of 5-6 teachers. To really hype up the competition among my students, I offered an iTunes/Google Play card to the resource that scored the highest. The goal of our meeting was to get teachers excited about their technology in order to make learning more effective and efficient in their classroom. Here were the resources on which they presented.
- IFTTT (If This Then That)
- Google Maps
- Photo Math App
The students prepped for the faculty meeting on two different afternoons leading up to the event.
I divided the library into tables and areas that were mildly separated from each other to eliminate distractions as much as possible. (Note: It will be loud. Prepare your students to talk over distractions.) I also had a few shirts screen printed because…who doesn’t love matching tee-shirts?!
As teachers entered the library the students handed out the score cards. We also asked the faculty to BYOD in case they wanted/needed to participate in any of the rotations. We allowed the faculty to sit where they normally sit which naturally separated them into small groups. Each table/iSupport team member had it’s own table number which matched up to the score cards. Some students used iPads to demo while others used a computer.
I gave a brief introduction explaining the score card and objectives for the afternoon to the faculty. Then we started. It was quiet and awkward during the first rotation because …(I believe)…no one had ever been to a faculty meeting quite like this one. After Round 1, the fun really set in. The kids got hyped, the teachers got hyped and I felt like crying tears of joy.
The faculty meeting ended in 32 minutes. BOOM. Can’t beat that with a stick.
We collected the forms, counted the votes (CANVA won!) and then gave the totals to our Assistant Principal who has plans to follow up in PLC’s in order to provide a greater in depth training on the most popular tools.
The NEXT day, I had about 4 emails and 3 text messages from faculty members stating “BEST FACULTY MEETING EVER” or “That was so much fun….can we do this every faculty meeting?” It made my heart swell with pride. The teachers loved it. My iSupport team keeps asking when the next one is going to be. #SCORE.
My favorite part was the 4-5 phone calls I got from teachers the NEXT DAY who were using the tools from the faculty meeting. A three minute presentation turned into a better, more engaging, effective lesson the NEXT DAY.
Have fun with this one friends. It’ll change your life!
Feel free to use the score card, make a copy and change as necessary. I’m always here to help however I can.