One of my goals this year was to become a better presenter. As a teacher we are always presenting, and we don’t often think of ourselves as presenters. I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone to get a better understanding of how I could become more effective.
I was given the opportunity to lead a presentation on using iMovie to show learning. My classroom uses video and Book Creator to make learning visible. The EdTech team saw me as someone who was leading in this area at our school and wanted me to share my experiences with other teachers.
So although this was supposed to be a presentation, I had to think deeply about my learning and teaching style. I soon realised the way I learn best is not through a person speaking at the front but someone who engages me in discussions. I also know that I’m most comfortable when I get to make connections with my co-learners. There is a very large and diverse teaching staff at my school, and although at the beginning I didn’t know the teachers who attended well, we were able to meaningfully connect to enhance our students learning opportunities.
I started off by introducing myself and I created an activity that would engage the teachers in using iMovie. Most teachers are hesitant to use technology in class because they don’t know how it works or what to use it for. The purpose of this whole experience was to make teachers more comfortable. I split them into small groups where they had to create a movie about something they learned that week. With very few instructions, leaving the task open ended and with room for creativity teachers started to explore iMovie. At first there was hesitation and they asked a lot of questions, but I kept telling them to try something else. I continued to give guidance along the way, it was easy for me to identify which learners needed help in which areas.
In reflection, I was nervous about what would be created. I was worried because I felt that as teachers, they would want a finished product they could take back and feel successful. I learned that it wasn’t about the final product but about the process. Much like the classroom. I was giving constant formative assessment to everyone based on where they were at.
The things I learned from this experience are fundamental to my teaching because it reinforces what good teaching is. I know that it’s not about me standing at the front of the classroom but more about giving proper feedback to my peers. It is less about the final product and instead about the steps it takes students to get there. It was the discussions and questions that occurred that helped me guide my next steps. In any given unit of inquiry I know the best way to engage my students is to let their ideas give direction to what we learn. In the end, instead of presenting it became a workshop.