When it comes to professional development for teachers, more presentations need to model the value of read/write web technologies including the importance of informal professional learning networks. Even if we don't have time to develop and deliver workshops on how to use blogs, wikis, podcasts, or steaming video, we can raise the profile of these tools by leveraging them in our presentations.
Even if board presenters elect to use traditional 'sage on the stage' models for sharing knowledge in training sessions, school districts can engage teachers in the conversation. Using the read/write tools at our disposal, leaders can provide pre and post-workshop information; can receive feedback from attendees; and can engage educators in ongoing dialogue about the big ideas shared in a given workshop.
My personal view is that every workshop should be supported by the use of a wiki. At the very least, the wiki can provide direct access to hyperlinks, handouts, and presentation materials. At best, the wiki will be open to contributions from visitors. and will include threaded discussions that extend the conversation. I contend that such workshop sites will be sticky, leading to collective sharing and community thinking on a wide range of topics. Informal networks of teachers may well spring from the regular use of wikis, and might further develop into lasting professional learning communities.
The spin-off benefit, beyond the support for current training initiatives, might include teachers who will begin to think about how they can leverage similar tools in their own classrooms. Knowing that it is so easy to contribute to a wiki, a teacher might write her first web page by using a wiki connect with parents, students and fellow teachers. Indeed, when curriculum leaders teach teachers through the use of read/write tools like these, they teach more than they realize!
Unsure about how wikis work? Visit the Teacher 2.0 Sticky Wiki episode , or check out the video below. In the interest of full disclosure: I like WetPaint for my wikis and I think Common Craft does a great job explaining things.