Yesterday, our wonderful technology teacher, Ruth Davis, who has been attending my professional development class, approached me and asked if I would be open to going a little more high tech today for my class. I asked her what she had in mind. She explained that she absolutely had to be at home at 3:30, but didn't want to miss my class, so she asked if I would be opened to having her FaceTime into the class. "Of course, I would love to try that!" was my reply.
We did have some connectivity issues - we lost connection approximately every 15 minutes for some reason - but overall we feel it was very successful. She was able to see my presentation and me on her Mac. She also had the slides for my presentation which were on my website open so she could scan the QR codes and see the slides better. It was like she was in the room with us - everyone was able to interact with her - she asked some questions, gave some input on certain topics to the rest of the class, and we even got to hear her dog drinking water from his bowl!
Ruth and I spoke this morning about how well we thought it went, and about the possibilities this could lead to for our district's professional development. We are a Google Apps for Education school, but because this is our first year, the district hasn't opened up to us all of the vast options that GAFE offer, such as being able to participate in a Google Hangout. This would be a great improvement over using FaceTime. We could have a professional development session recorded for others to view at a later time if they could not participate live, and participants who had to be elsewhere could still participate in the live sessions.
If anyone else has used this concept of remote professional development, whether with FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or something else, we would love to hear about your experience. Please let us know!