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In Lahore, the Students Run the PD
By Katherine Maloney
Lahore American School (LAS), Pakistan has recently started turning things around a little bit. It all started with the realization that our students are really smart, and that they are especially smart when it comes to technology. And that realization spawned another: Why not get our students to help us run some tech-related professional development (PD) sessions?
The result has been a series of student-led PD sessions focused on technology that teachers can start using right now in order to make their lessons more engaging and fun.
The first session introduced teachers to ToonDoo, a cartoon-making site, and the second introduced them to Glogster, a popular multimedia poster-making tool. These sessions were extremely successful, and we would like to share several realizations:
-Our students are awesome! Their knowledge and facility with technology is incredible. It seems a shame not to tap into it more often than we do.
-Our students are awesome! The attentiveness, patience and understanding that they demonstrated as they shared their expertise was truly inspiring—something that all of us should strive to emulate.
-Teachers seem more motivated to learn about these new tech tools from their students than from their colleagues. Perhaps they feel less threatened? Perhaps the professional in them feels the need to model good student behavior? All we do know is that the teachers were on their very best behavior: motivated, engaged, responsive, and polite (this is not always the case when a colleague is running the session).
-Students feel empowered and valued when they have the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills. Our students already know a lot; but how often do we acknowledge that?
-Students want more of their teachers to use tools such as ToonDoo, Glogster and many others. We had absolutely no trouble finding student volunteers who were ready and willing to work with their teachers.
If you aren’t already doing so, we highly recommend that you start finding ways to incorporate your students into your PD sessions; you will not regret it.
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05/13/2011 - Tracy Watanabe
Good for you! Using students in PD works fabulously and it truly empowers them and gives them leadership opportunities for their strengths.
Our school district did this when we took Microsoft off student computers and replaced it with Google Apps. I trained a group of students, who then helped me train the teachers, and other students. They loved the leadership opportunity, and it was so easy for them to learn.
I love your suggestion of using students for other tools they like using. I think I'll go back to using students in PD. Thanks for the reminder!
05/07/2011 - elitefsk
This is fantastic. I think students will benefit from the PD sessions and learning will be fun. We must also focus to engage students for research. Students must try to focus on the word "WHY ?" find answers and various options and way same phenomenon can be manipulated. Wish all the success to LAS.