Friday, October 30, 2009

The 15-Minute Teacher Inservice

A well-planned, focused inservice that meets my exact needs is so fulfilling! To sit in a room for a day and discuss with like-minded people those issues that need discussing, to learn and extend my professional capabilities--that is a true joy.

However, the truth is that a day spent at learning rarely results in a day full of learning. There is--how shall I politely phrase it--down time? An alternative I have discovered is using a professional online network and asking questions through discussion group.

To provide a specific example:

I needed to learn how to separate the audio track from a video file. Advanced video editing programs have that capability included in the software, but Windows Movie Maker does not. I asked this question on a professional network called "Documentarians," populated by all kinds of video and camera people, and received a response within a day that led me to a free software that fits my needs.

Time spent? About 15 minutes.

This process does not replace the wonderful opportunity to spend time together with people you know and respect, learning and creating a more unified professional community, but it is a powerful way to interact in a larger world, to gain insights and information, to make professional connections, and to save time with the doing.

I use LinkedIn as my professional network, but I would be interested in learning of other professional networks. No matter what network or inservice, though, I still have to ask the basic question all learners should ask: Who is saying this and how much credibility should I extend to this individual? That is something all learners should do--teachers and students!

Copyright 2009 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved.


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