Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PD With A Twist

We hosted our first PD sessions of the season.  Inspired by the unconference format, several educators in the building stepped forward to host a conversation.  The sessions included a mix between "how-to" segments and the open exchange of ideas between educators. 

One of the sessions focused the conversation on video production.  So You Want Your Students to Create A Video opened the door to a conversation on how film could be incorporated in the classroom.  As stated in the description the use of film as a vehicle for expression has grown within the past few years.  More and more students are creating short films to express critical understandings.  This particular unconference acknowledged a growing reliance on film and stimulated a conversation about multimodal expression.

The unique twist on this session was that two students facilitated exchanges between educators.  The session was developed by our Broadcast teacher, but was delivered by two of students.  Both students are seniors and have move beyond our program of studies to where they crafted an independent study to further their interest in film and production. 

It was refreshing to witness a reversal of roles.  In this scenario students served as experts and were positioned to offer guidance to teachers.  In Fact, the students prepared a hand-out for teachers that provided suggestions on logistics and the process.  It makes sense to tap into expertise that resides within a school building regardless of age or title.  It also makes sense to empower students and craft forums where they can assume leadership roles within the academic and not just extracurricular arena.

The hope is that we can continue both these unconference conversations and expand the role students play in professional development. An important tone was set to start the year and one that will serve as a guide throughout the rest of the year.