I facilitated two 135 minute discussions around the use of iPads in the classroom with teachers and administrators from the Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools (BBH) back at the end of August as part of their staff in-service day. Rather than deliver lecture style presentations over a ton of apps, I decided I wanted to create a more meaningful and engaging learning experience to use with the BBH staff.

The concept for the two sessions was to remix ideas and content I had seen used before in other professional learning settings. The first was an idea that I was familiar with from attending and leading conversations at Science Leadership Academy‘s EduCon. It involved the use of a conversation protocol to help guide the session. The second was drawn from a Media Scavenger Hunt that Dr. Wesley Fryer had put together for a session he led called “Simple Ideas for Powerful Sharing.” The final idea was adapted from something I’d seen David Jakes use as part of his What If? presentation series.


By merging these different PD approaches, I was hoping to be able to demonstrate some apps that students and teachers could use to create digital artifacts across grade levels and the content areas, but more importantly to get them talking about how integrating these apps would transform their practice. I developed a Google Site to help provide a foundational overview of the activity as well as provide supplemental learning resources for the BBH staff.

My approach was to bundle similar apps together to form suites that could demonstrate a variety of free Concept Mapping, Audio Sharing, Picture/Video Sharing and Publishing/Storytelling apps. The What? So What? Now What? conversational protocol was modified to:

  1. Introduce each App Suite (What?)
  2. Break teachers out into small groups (based on grade level/content area) to download & play with the free apps, discuss how they could be used in the classroom (So What?)
  3. Brainstorm what they could do tomorrow, within a month and within a year to begin using the App Suites in their classrooms (Now What?)

Overall, I was pleased with the results of both sessions. I think that they both went as well as I could have imagined, for my first attempt at this type of format. As is often the case with PD sessions, I had way more content than I could possibly get through during the allotted time, although it was easy to cut out an App Suite or two in order to give the participants adequate discussion time. You can read what the participants had to say about the session in the Evaluation document. You can also view their take-aways and next steps below.

So What? Now What? Responses