Planning and preparing professional development as a group

The Learning Without Borders Group

Overview -

'Our group threw around lots of ideas for a workshop and decided on the ideas of change, technology and life balance. We are keen to explore the application of technology to learning but want to be able to use technology as a way to empower both the educator and the learning. We are also aware of the many barriers the idea of technology and learning brings up for many educators and we want to be able to present technology as a way to improve the learning process and to help educators in their goal to achieve lide balance.
We want to be able to provide the workshop participants with something concrete that they can walk away and use immediately in their teaching or training and say “That’s an improvement or that saves time!” Educators need to respond to technology in learning and be prepared to take risks, step into the unknown. Education is changing and we need to be equipped with the tools that will help us to adapt and change to best meet the needs of our learners.'
What is Learning without borders?About the group

Mentor training

Educational technologist talks to head teachers and mentors prior to event, agree on outcomes for group based on strategic direction of the group. Corresponding activity sheets developed for hands on learning activities during event.
Introduction to 'learning without borders' workshop
The Open Space Technologies Workshop - and its influence
Workshop format

Registration for professional development event

Procedures for registering for event
Flier and workshop plan for 'Learning without borders'

Reflection on planning prior to professional development workshop

Reflection from group preparation process, sharing leadership and working in groups.
Ian Perkins
Gary Newick
Kathy Crews and Bianca Casper
Kathy Gelding

Alternative Web conferencing format

Example of web conferencing showcase event

Group learning workshop

1 Setting Up a Participatory Space

Setting up a particpatory conversational space for teachers and faciliator - First half

Beth venting about technology before the workshop
Overcoming barriers to technology

In preparing the space it would make sense to change the spacing of chairs to be in a horseshoe. This means the facilitator can speak from the center alowing people to hear better, removing the presenter audience hierarchy and freeing up space for participants to put up their post it notes (see below) during the first session. At the open end of the horsehoe shape put up some buitchers paper for post it's. Teacher's can them freely write there thoughts on post-is' and stick to wall for future considersation. In addtion have a Large projector screen and loud speakers for laptop with network connection .
Faciliating group learning - example animation

Hands on spaces for teachers and mentors - Second half

  • 4 tables and chairs arranged around the horseshoe shape.
  • 4 mentors, one faciliator, lots of teachers 25-30 Lots laptops 16-32 laptops with four screens.
  • 4-8 laptops per table , laptops can be shared.
  • Wireless connections significantly reduce the hastle factor in connecting a large amount of laptops to the network otherwise a hub and cable creates a very messy work environment.

2 First half (1hr15min) group learning PD - Setting the agenda

Head teacher - Manager:

Welcome and overview of:
  • The participatory nature of the PD event.
  • What has gone on before in previous PD workshops, what was involved in preparing for event- Acknowlegement!
  • What are the desired learning outcomes.
  • Highlights participant's resource kit, i.e. lesson plans for mentor activities etc.
  • Introduce mentors and faciltator.
  • Encourages informality for example through providing snacks for the group to pass around during conversation.

3 What do you want to Share, Learn, Do?


  • Gives an overview of the discussion topic, for example utilising 'Web 2.0 technology within teaching', but topic can be anything, usually relating to section's strategic direction.
  • Explains the participatory nature of the event, the group are not meant to be passive observers but are encouraged to engage in professional conversation by getting up and voicing their thoughts.
  • Shows group digtial camera and audio recorder and encourages the participants to pass them around during the faciliated conversation.
  • Highlights the butchers paper and post-it notes and introduces relevant conversation catalyst questions, for example, What do you want to share? What do you want to do? What do you want to ask?.

4 Pass the technology around


  • Learning in the moment, during conversation the participants pass technology around, for example showing each other how to use digital camera and voice recorder to capture snippets of conversation.
  • Uses post it notes and butchers paper to capture thei individual thoughts as group discussion progresses.

5 Confession - Feedback on professional development, tell it like it is!


  • Encourages participants to express themselves openly, tell it like it is, drawing out the strengths and weaknesses of current professional development working model and group captures information with video and post it's, participants needs can be addressed in future.

6 Show each other how to create a group network

Facilitator and group:

  • Facilitator takes group photograph.
  • Faciliator show's group how to use and photosharing to post the photo and create a group network thus enabling participants to maintain contact and discuss outcomes after PD event.
  • Group encouraged to support and show each other how to add their details to group photograph.
  • Facilitator encourages group to warm up for second half, network with each other and record conversations.
  • Facilitator encourages those who are too shy or haven't had a chance to put their post-it reflections up on butchers paper during break...

Small groups

  • Group split themselves into 4 smaller groups of 6-8 to participate after break in mentored activities.

7 Food break (30min) / Talk to each other (Don't forget to press record)


  • Most important to have a decent spread as good food is good for conversation and morale prior second half when the work is done.

8 Group Learning (1hr30min) - Mentor rings of activity

Mentors and groups
Smaller groups hands on at computers
Mentor delivers activity sheets around subject area, i.e how to use a piece of equipment or technology e.g. blog, podcast etc. can be any subject...
Feedback taken during group learning process.

9 Group Learning - What did you learn?

Facilitator moves around groups with camera asking people what they are learning, for inclusion in video blog/DVD after event.

10 Group Learning - Where to next? Learning to play

11 Group Learning - Tap into valuable organisation knowledge through your network after event

Post event evaluation
This is how we had fun in on the workshop night.
Post workshop debrief
Post workshop questions and answers

Related links;sort=date;date=;user=sparker;topic_name=learningwithoutborders;s=posts;page=1