In April the VSS 2008 Annual Spring Conference - Learning: Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere is happening in Vancouver and I was pumped about a session that I wanted to do with my colleague, Jodie. I went to the conference last year for the first time and I found it to be wonderful Pro-D and a great networking opportunity.
What Jodie and I wanted to present on were a bunch of cool Google applications that we stumbled upon this summer during our self-directed Pro-D. One of them, Google Docs, is a great little fairly basic on-line word processing tool. What makes it impressive is that multiple users can work on the same document at the same time and go back and view edits that have been made. It could be a very useful tool if you have students collaborating together on a project, or if you are collaborating with a peer (as Jodie and I have done).
We also discovered Google Calendar, which we have used with great success. You can do a whole lot of cool things with Google Calendar such as allowing others to subscribe to your calendar or you can post your calendar(s) to web pages. For example, check out the calendar on our grade 10 web page. We have been using the calendars to post deadlines and other important dates. Students and their parents have been finding the calendars quite useful. After these two great finds, I decided to check out More Google Products. From here I discovered Google Notebook, Blogger, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Reader, and much more.
So, basking in our Google Glow, Jodie and I thought we should definitely present on this at the VSS conference. But now I'm having second thoughts. Don't get me wrong, I love these Google apps. I use Notebook everyday, I have almost committed to switching all of my personal e-mail over to Gmail, I rely on Google Calendar (for school and home), the first thing I look at when I log onto iGoogle is Google Reader, and I entered the blogosphere using Blogger. (Wow, I hadn't realized how thoroughly entrenched I have become in using all things Google until just now!) So here's the thing; they're just tools. And there are other tools out there that do similar things. I don't know if I should be giving a presentation on tools. Especially since that's what it will be, a presentation. Not a hands on workshop. Just me and Jodie telling and showing. I have no doubt that people would come to a presentation on these particular tools, but how much of an impact will we make?
I'd still like to present at the VSS conference. And it is a Google tool that will be the inspiration (not quite the right term) for my presentation. What I'd like to present on is blogging. Not on how to get your students to blog--I haven't done that yet. No, on blogging as being central to an educator's professional development. I only really started blogging at the end of November, 2007. In the period of just over one month I've been exposed to so many fabulous ideas that have really impacted me as an educator. I'd like to expose the blogless to the thrills of conversing in the blogosphere.
What do you think; Blogging as a key part of an educator's pro-d, or should I just stick with the tool talk?