With teachers in a constant state of time poor – I wanted a way of sharing ideas, tools and articles in a regular format.
I came up with the idea of “Emmaus Bytes” late last term – Michael Pate helped me out by talking through requirements of an innovation newsletter. We discussed what Emmaus staff needed in terms of the PD they have already received and how the format was best presented.
The cheeky title is derived from the unit measurement – a byte. The concept of the update is to share smaller bits of information, sourced from articles and peers with links to further reading and ideas for classroom application.
Too often PD is over prescriptive – it leads to specific implementation and rigid ideas of do this then that. Teachers at Emmaus (and other schools I am sure) are apt in reading information and ideas, to then make a decision about its validity in their classrooms. It is not a take it or leave it approach – this approach starts discussions. Discussions that are driven by staff & students needs – not just me.
Examples of this working is in the first edition of Emmaus Bytes I included info about Weebly. With ideas of implementation, examples of Emmaus Weeblys and staff that were currently using the tool – our experts to talk to. This was a great success! We now have multiple faculties and many individuals now using Weebly. Building on that, Emmaus Bytes edition TWO discussed ways of integrating critical thinking into Weebly, success criteria for students and extension activities – not just the technology – the pedagogy.
We are now up to our THIRD edition of Emmaus Bytes (found here) – it has been a positive experience to share the good practice of staff in these editions and share ideas so that together we develop as a school staff – not in a linear one PD plan for all, but with byte sized ideas.