Wanting to see and hear what teachers are doing with technology in their classrooms? Interested in knowing how they are implementing technology after professional development has been provided? Curious to have teachers learn from other teachers but don’t have a lot of time or opportunities to make it happen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have a potential solution that I have used with teachers called Smackdown on Steroids.
A Smackdown is a sharing of websites, tools that people have found to be great to use. These Smackdowns typically take place at a conference, workshop, or at an Edcamp. A Smackdown on Steroids takes the Smackdown concept and makes it stronger.
Before teachers share the use of technology that begins with this prompt, “I used this technology, ______________, for the purpose of ___________”, recruit teachers to share what they are trying and are doing in their classrooms. The teachers that are recruited should be a mix of the “go-getters” and others that are trying out some new technologies or uses of technology. Explain to the teachers that this will continue to be an expectation as the goal is for everyone to have a chance to share something. *Tip: teachers don’t always want to hear just from the “techie” types because they don’t see themselves like them.
The times that this sharing and celebrating can take place are at the beginning of a professional development session, grade level or department meeting, PLC meeting, or a staff meeting. Depending on the time that is allowed for the Smackdown, choose the number of teachers that will have enough time to share that day.
The teachers need to know that they will have about three minutes to address the following:
- What did you do?
- What was different for the students? (focus is on engagement and learning)
- What was different for you? (focus is on engagement and learning)
- What didn’t work and what will you do differently next time?
Once the opportunity for the Smackdown is determined, remind teachers that they will only have three minutes to quickly state what they tried centering their sharing around the prompt and the four questions stated above. Using a timer helps keep things moving along. Have the teacher display or tell what they did. Acknowledging each teacher with applause is appreciated.
To encourage other teachers to consider trying something that they heard, consider setting up a few times (am & pm) during the week to help teachers who are interested with the nuts and bolts of the technologies that were shared. The presenting teacher, technology coordinator, or technology integrationist could provide the necessary support.
Finally, recruit additional teachers to share for the next time.
Using this process provides an opportunity for teachers to share, celebrate, take risks, have fun, and be accountable, and it only takes a small amount of time.