Friday, March 6, 2009

Professional Development Opportunity: Subscribing to Blogs

If your district has made a commitment to develop teachers' personal learning networks (my standard reminder in effect), and you have explored your existing networks, one of the next steps you will want to do as a staff is have a hands-on session to subscribe to RSS feeds.

Some things to think about:
• You will want an hour minimum for this activity. You will want more if you haven't a) created Google Reader accounts previously, or b) introduced what RSS is. If your district uses a 1-hour early dismissal each week model for professional development time, you will want to do those activities in one inservice and the workshop in the second.

• Below, I have added the slideshare I use to introduce what RSS is (tied in to the concept of PLN's). Download the power point version to get the transitions.

• For the workshop, you will want one person per 10 participants who will be on-site troubleshooters in addition to the facilitator. If you don't, be pre-emptive and explain the need for patience beforehand.

• Before the workshop, determine which browser you will support. There are differences between the layouts of Safari, Firefox, and IE, and teachers often get frustrated if what they see on their screen doesn't match what they see on the projector. I use a "customize at your own customer support" model when I work with staff.

• The facilitator needs to 1) give an overview of the steps to subscribe to a feed and 2) an overview of how to navigate Google Reader. In my PLN slideshare, there are some slides which structure the subscribing process.

• I can say that if there is enough time and the network is working sufficiently, the workshop works very well. High-flyers tend to get the basics quickly and start searching on their own, while there is enough simplicity in the process for those that need repetition to learn.

• I'd have everyone walk away from the workshop with 3 blogs that they subscribe to (including any district-level blogs your district might have), and one Google or Delicious search.

Places to search for blogs:

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