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Virtually Impossible or Virtually Possible?

December 16th, 2016
Note: We are pleased to welcome guest bloggers and 2016 LDC Lead & Learn Fellows Monique Whorton and Joanna Fuller. In this article, one in a series of blogs by Lead & Learn Fellows, Monique details her experience working with Joanna and their use of video conferencing to help bring LDC into the classroom.

Do you want to use video conferencing to help bring LDC into your classroom but are afraid of all the technical hiccups? Our session at the SREB Networking Conference provided participants with the best tech-savvy tips on virtual conferencing and research-based strategies for creating effective collaboration while using technology. Technology is not only a powerful tool in the classroom, it’s an essential part of any 21st-century adult development group as well. Through the use of TeachingChannel, Google Docs, and Zoom, we were able to differentiate the instruction of each LDC collaborative meeting to meet the diverse set of needs of the teachers. As with our students, the affective filter for teachers can easily increase and slow down work productivity. By creating a strategic Vision Board with deadlines using Google Docs and increasing collaboration on LDC CoreTools, our group of teachers were able to create an empowering module on social-emotional development that would address student needs across the curriculum.

In order to engage the group of educators at the conference, we began the conference on a Zoom call. Zoom is a professional video conferencing tool which the LDC i3 team uses to facilitate virtual learning. We simulated a PLC planning conference and then explained how this worked in our sessions over the last year. We hoped this would pique the interest of our audience and were excited by the positive response.

Joanna took some time to explain the challenges we faced with her team. However, by implementing the Vision Board and communicating with the team, she was able to turn the negativity around and create a positive productive struggle with her team. Despite multiple factors influencing the affective filters of the teachers, we found that offering the team some choices turned attitudes around.

Monique offered insights into the use of Google Docs, Teaching Team Learning Plans, and LDC CoreTools to coordinate project-based learning at another LAUSD school. The conversation here shifted to the ability to stay flexible and to not be afraid to schedule short calls with any team member. Sometimes a five-minute call can clear up misunderstandings and also create positive relationships. LDC has a framework that can be adapted to multiple situations and provides teachers with a tool that guides the purposeful direction of teacher lesson planning.

Joanna also introduced two tools that can enhance the virtual experience. Both Padlet and Kahoot offered an opportunity for the audience to participate. Using Bitly made it easier to share the links while also introducing another tool. One goal for the next year with our i3 and LDC work is to implement more ways for our teams to have a voice and to participate more frequently in the virtual PLC.

Participants were asked to look at the protocols for virtual PLCs and adapt them to their own needs. They worked in pairs or teams and talked through which pieces from those we shared would work for them.

The protocols we developed as part of the i3 project will be fully implemented this coming school year. We look forward to seeing the way this positively impacts our LDC learning. We will let ya’ll know what worked and what didn’t at some time in the future.

After the session, we had some people stay and ask questions, which was heartwarming. It meant we had shared something of value and that was our goal. We also included our emails, as well as the virtual tools we felt most comfortable supporting, on the handouts. If you attended our session and have questions, please contact us.


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