Yesterday, I was able to attend an Improvement Science Workshop put on by the Eagle Rock Professional Development Center. They offer a variety of professional development for schools across the country. We spent the day examining a problem of practice using improvement science. Thankfully, the presenter emailed out a Google Drive folder with all of the materials from the session in electronic form ahead of time. I was able to use a Chrome app called Copy Folder to make a copy of all of the folder materials at once (instead of the usual copying every file). This process was relatively easy and allowed my to select the folder directly from my Drive, name the new folder, copy sharing permissions (or not) and place it where I wanted in my Drive. I would recommend sharing this as a resource if you ever share a folder with participants and want them to make their own copy of multiple documents.
When I got assigned to my working group, I shared the folder with them and we were able to collaborate on many of the tasks from the workshop electronically. While my group members primarily engaged on the process using the posters and sticky-notes provided to us, I had the flexibility to express my thinking electronically and more importantly, capture all of my group's thinking in a way that would be easily referenced later. Oftentimes, posters from workshops are never referenced again and thrown away or recycled. By having an electronic archive, I know that our group will be far more likely to reference our work again. One document that gave me difficulty, however, was a Fishbone diagram. The electronic version was not very user-friendly for filling out electronically. Instead, I decided to use Lucidchart to create my own version of the diagram. I was satisfied with Lucidchart, but I'm not sure I would pay for a premium account. You are limited to 3 documents in a free Lucidchart account, but I think I will stick with the free account until I dig more into concept mapping software. Overall, it was very satisfying to engage with the workshop materials in a way that resonated with my working style. I am thankful that the team from Eagle Rock gave me the chance to explore what electronic engagement in a workshop can look like.
Do you give your participants the chance to engage electronically? What has worked? Share your stories in the comments!
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.