Five Things you can do to make even the worst Professional Development More Meaningful and Less Boring
You are there, sitting in another boring staff development starting to count the tiles on the ceiling because you just finished you morning crossword puzzle and finished reading through your feeds on Flipboard. The presenter is presenting on something that you have already seen, and you have eaten the last chocolate covered donut. What to do, what to do? And that is the first 15 minutes of the day. Only 7 hours and 45 minutes to go.
Well, you can decide that the day is going to be a total waste of time. You can decide to mentally turn off and spend the day silently complaining and making sarcastic remarks, or you can decide that the you are actually going to do something educational…
There are things you can do DURING meetings that wil keep you engaged, keep you awake, and keep you
Create a Backchannel: Today’s Meet
A backchannel is a silent discussion that takes place while a presentation or meeting is going on. (Think digital note passing.) For instance, if someone is presenting and a question comes up, instead of interrupting the presenter, you could ask the question in the backchannel. Today’s Meet is an excellent and simple site for creating and using a single event backchannel. It is especially good for single day training and if you want to keep the conversation localized. Let everyone with a computer know the backchannel url that you choose, and, if there are others like yourself, then you can have a silent conversation going on. Beware however, it is very easy to switch a backchannel conversation into a bitchfest. If you see that happening, you need to take control of the conversation and bring it back or if it gets too bad, you can even end the backchannel. With Today’s Meet, users do not have to know any hashtags and the ease of use factor is very high.
If you want the conversation to go beyond your immediate geographical location, taking it out to the entire internet, then backchannel using Twitter, where more people are hanging out. You will have to come up with common term that all users agree on called a hashtag which identifies the conversation. For instance, a hashtag usually describes the session like #TCEA13 which is for the 2013 TCEA conference. The danger of starting a backchannel in Twitter is that the conversation can grow to enormous proportions and you can lose control very easily.