Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mac Mini-camp

This week, I hosted four colleagues for a full day of hands-on learning intended to help novice geeks to get the most of their Mac computers. Contrary to traditional large group PD, this audience had the luxury of going in any of a number of directions, and could do so at a comfortable pace.

I fielded a number of queries about this informal PD through via Twitter, so here are my top 10 discoveries from a day of learning with friends:

1] You can use a large screen television as a projection device.

2] Although the operating system is simple to navigate, there are simple tricks that you may take for granted that may be greatly valued by your colleagues.

3] Small changes to System Preferences can allow any user to be more productive.

4] Individual needs are much easier to address in a small group meeting than they are in traditional PD. (I.e., A teacher with a new external hard drive invited us to explore how to use Time Machine to backup files.)

5] If you use Skitch, ctrl+shift+5 is the new ctrl+shift+4

6] Teachers can have fun with Skype by contacting folks in the same room; and you can demonstrate the power of this collaborative tool by inviting guest experts to dial in to share their expertise. Thanks @BrendaSherry, @KellyPower & @IainRobertson!

7] Delicious is a great tool to introduce teachers to the power of the hive mind.

8] Engaging in conversation within a PD session is a good thing. How else can folks teach one another and share their giddy love of learning?

9] This type of learning should be taking place on a regular basis. The consensus from participants was that we should schedule follow-up meetings. First on our next agenda: "So, What happened?"

10] Teacher-learners are happy to share food in exchange for tech tips!
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