Today the word FOCUS has hit me like a ton of bricks in a good way, if that can be done. I am presently attending #DENSI2014 in Nashville, TN. Today we spent the day in sessions learning new tips, tricks, and techniques about technology integration. The day was kicked off by Lodge McCammon. He is one of my favorite people in the realm of education. Lodge talked about the word ‘Lecture’ not being a bad word. If we looked at how we do lecture we could make it more effective and efficient.
Lodge spent time working with us on the efficiency of the mind and body. This was fascinating to me and even now as my mind and body are exhausted from cognitive overload. In my job I spend a lot of time reiterating things over and over like anyone else. It’s exhausting. Recording the content or expertise would essentially “free my mind” of some cognitive overload. See what I mean from one of his ‘recorded lectures’ in the keynote.
And this brought me to my aha… Lodge worked with us on how recording our lessons helps teachers reflect allowing us to FOCUS and improve our teaching. This really spoke to me.
This word focus followed me to my next session from Tim Childers, Teaching with Just One Image. Tim talked about how to get students to look at an image and focus on specific things in the image whether it be simply what you see, a specific area of a photo, or using a tool like VoiceThread for students to express thoughts about a photo. But he kept bringing up this ideas of guided attention to focus students. He also shared a touching story about his daughter and her focus on making it up the Beehive in Maine. When her focus changed she was able to continue to the end of the hike. There is that word again!
So it got me thinking. As I conduct professional development routinely, I find myself waiting longer and longer to prepare because “I got this.” When it is time to conduct the PD, I become drained. At times I even really don’t want to do it because I don’t want to repeat myself again. I find that I can become the talking head spewing out information at the front of the room. How can I FOCUS? How do I guide the attention of the teachers? What do I want to accomplish in the PD that I am conducting? Not only do I want teachers have a better understanding on the topic, I want to model teaching practices we want to see in our classrooms. How can I accomplish these things?
How can I FOCUS?
1. Don’t forget what I learned today.
2. Take the time up front to plan and create my lecture videos.
3. Use the added time in the PD session to involve the participants in discussions and hands-on. Keep veering from click her, do this.
4. Reflect each time I conduct the sessions and improve.