In service on February 29, 2000

Duration One hour
Location Computer lab
Number of Participants Six

Prior to the In service I needed to spend time to make sure that the site  I  intended  to use would work. As I suspected...when I needed the site  most it didn't work.  Often we have little control over what material will  pass through the Milwaukee  Public School's computer filter. I needed  to rearrange what I was going to do in a  hurry to accommodate the  needs  of the staff.

I received advice from another computer person on how to bypass the  changes that  were made to the internet system. The first 10 minutes  were spent teaching the  participants how to sign in and maneuver  around the new system. Once everyone  was up and on I noticed that  two of the individuals involved were not as interested  as I had hoped;  they were looking at off-line track betting sheets. Let it be noted  that  the teachers did receive pay compensation for being at the in-service. I  continued the in-service.

My original plans were altered significantly. I decided to explain what  engaged  learning is and what it meant for myself as an educator. Since I  had done an  engaged learning unit with my students, I had plenty of  materials to share as  examples. I explained how to prepare the students  for the computer lab and how
to keep them on task in the lab.

From that point on what the participants wanted was to see completed engaged  learning lessons that they could access. I gave them links to sites that I had found  previously and let them investigate their perspective areas of expertise.

Four out of the six participants were truly interested and found material that they  would like to try. I offered to help them set up the class and troubleshoot for any  unseen problems. Participants were then offered a chance to see the students in  action. I decided that seeing is believing, so I will use my own classes as an example  of engaged learning in action.


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For future reference I feel that hooking teachers by offering pay is perhaps not a  good idea to get those who are truly interested. I will try offering another in-service,  however, this time those who are interested will have to decide to come without a  pay incentive.

 From this offering I have learned that I need to advertise earlier and send reminders  to those who said they were interested. It is also important to always have a back up  plan in case something doesn't function properly.

 Best use of technology

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Since the staff members I worked with had limited computer skills it was more  important to get their skills up to speed and allow them to enjoy the material. Had  these staff members been more advanced I would have given them an engaged  learning task. It is important to note that my colleagues balk at being treated like  students. It is far easier to make this information digestible by showing products and  benefits: "What's in it for me". When a larger commitment is expressed I would be  more than willing to teach others how to design an engaged learning project of their  own.
 Overall impression

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There is interest out there for engaged learning. However, implementing a full scale  engaged learning series will take time to initiate. Now that some are interested they  would like to learn a little more. Others have asked if I could hold the in-service on a  different week day. The growth on this project will be slow, but I feel that the  growth will also be exponential and not linear.

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