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23 things proposal

Page history last edited by Ruth Okoye 10 years, 2 months ago

Category/subcategory: Formal session/ Lecture

General Information

Session Title: 21 Things about 21 Things: Lessons learned from Staff Development

Session Description: Quality staff development can be thought provoking, engaging, and brief. See what teachers, administrators, and others can accomplish in 21 twenty-minute segments.

Theme and Strand: Professional Learning - Professional Development

Keywords: 21things, professional development,

Primary URL:

Audience Type: Staff Developers, Teacher Educators, Technology Integration Specialists,

Audience Level:

Audience Skill: N/A

NETS: T-3, 5; A-2, 3, 4

Strategic Objectives: Advance the art and science of teaching through research, development, professional learning offerings etc.


Proposal Summary

Purpose and Objectives: Challenged with introducing 21stCentury Skills and Web 2.0 technologies to administrators and teachers who really “don’t get it”, we decided to try the 23things strategy. However, to underscore the connection to 21st Century Skills, we renamed our strategy the 21things. The 23things strategy, originally introduced in 2006 by Helen Blowers of the Charlotte and Mecklenburg Public Library in North Carolina, has been adopted and adapted by organizations around the world as a way to introduce Web 2.0 technologies. The premise of the 23things strategy is to encourage staff to experiment and learn about new and emerging technologies by completing bite-sized web-based activities. We recognized this strategy as unique, marketable, fun, and most of all doable by a wide range of stakeholders. In addition to the sense of self-accomplishment that comes from participating in a program of this nature, we decided to sweeten the pot to pique interest and ensure a greater level of overall participation and completion -- we offered prizes for finishing on time and submtting quality work. Each stakeholder group involved in technology integration has unique needs. We created separate lists of activities for five groups. Administrators, Technology Coaches, Library Media Specialists and Teachers were all asked to participate in various activities that would either introduce them to Web 2.0 technologies or increase their knowledge of them. We created a learning community to support this endeavor using a NING so that each participant could post their successes and see what others were learning. As with any division wide project of this magnitude, we learned many things about our teachers, professional development, and the application of technology in the classroom.


5 min – Introductions

  • Presenters and their background

  • Descriptive setting of Portsmouth Public Schools including demographics, school climate etc.

10 min – The 21 Things

  • Introduce the 21things learning strategy -- its power, uniqueness, novelty, and evolution

  • Detail our adaptations for each group of stakeholders (administrators, technology coaches, library media specialists & teachers) and the rationale for each variation

30 min – The 21 Lessons Learned: Provide an overview of each of the 21 lessons learned, including:

  • How to garner support for this type of program;

  • How to generate interest for this type of program;

  • How to make the program unique for different stakeholders;

  • Technologies that worked in this process and why;

  • Technologies that didn’t fit the model and why;

  • The need for a community of learners;

  • The need for reflection to "own" the process;

  • The need for peer discussion as a means to discovery;

  • How to support participant's use of tools learned in the program.

5 min – Our results

  • Anecdotal highlights from participants

10 min – Q & A


Supporting Research





Iteresting things to note:


  • Not everyone understands how to use forums etc
  • Make sure the IT department unblocks things.
  • Folks want to do it all at work even though it is "pajama compatible"

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