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  • Writer's pictureTechnology in Education


Updated: Jan 5, 2023

Designing and facilitating professional learning is not an exact science. We all recognise this fact and are therefore always looking for ways to maximise precious time.

This year I led a professional learning workshop that I believe engaged teachers in a way I’ve not seen before. The concept was simple- each staff member brings along a “plus one”. Only catch is…the +1 must be a student from their class. (At this point I want to thank Vanessa Ratnayake who was indeed the instigator in this “plus one” workshop.)

So let’s explore what the session looked like and hopefully YOU can use the same concept when you next meet with your staff to share ideas and inspire. The small group of students and staff followed a design process during our 90 minute session. We defined their problem as:

How can we incorporate the use of Makey-Makeys to enhance your existing classroom curriculum?

During the ‘collect information’ stage, to save time, I provided them with some links to read about and see for themselves how other schools have used Makey Makeys in a range of settings. From this point, the students and teachers were able to share and brainstorm their ideas onto a shared Slides. With a stack of cardboard, tin foil, split pins, copper tape and markers, each pair (student + teacher) set to work in creating a prototype of how a Makey Makey could be used to enhance an existing area of their learning. The magic was most evident in the shared hands on discovering and the discussions between teacher and student- both on a level playing field learning something new! The ideas that came from this activity included:

  1. Map of Australia to share their Inquiry learning

  2. An interactive life cycle information report

  3. Choose your own adventure narratives

  4. Board game to reinforce learning in Maths

  5. Narrative writing with interactive elements (sounds, dialogue, glossary)

The end result were teachers that felt more confident in the tool itself and most importantly an understanding that Digital & Design Technologies does not have to be a stand-alone subject, but rather an element when designing teaching and learning experiences. Each class also has an empowered young student who will be able to support their teacher as the resident “expert”!

It was an opportunity for Lachlan to demonstrate his skills. His confidence has grown in class because he is now seen as an “expert” amongst his peers. In the session we were both seen as learners, not teacher and student. Teacher participant in PD + 1
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