On Friday, the staff from our school district and several others went to UNH for the day for professional development. We had choices as to what we could do. I chose to hear the first key note speaker, Larry Bell. He was inspirational, all right. He had us up singing and dancing. Most of us just wanted to sip our coffee and be entertained!
For the other two slots I chose Alan November. Alan November is very knowledgeable and a terrific speaker. I have spent a lot of money in the past to hear him and was happy to do it. However, yesterday, I was disappointed.
Alan November spent a good deal of time asking us if any of us were using the tools he was describing with our classrooms. If he received no responses, instead of suggesting why they should or asking why they weren’t, he’d act like we were from the back woods. This went on for the entire 90 minutes or so that he was speaking. I didn’t feel inspired, I felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck.
The second session started out in a weird way. The name of the session was supposed to be “Motivating Zack.” I had heard that before so I wasn’t too upset that he didn’t begin that way but someone in the audience sure did. She referred to November as the technical counterpart to Dr. House. She then asked him if she was at Motivating Zack. He said, Oh, is that what I am supposed to be doing? He then changed the direction of his comments. I found that curious. Later on, the same teacher asked him how he would motivate her Spanish 4 class. He said he’d find some email addresses at universities from Spanish speaking countries and locate some students who could speak Spanish to her students and they could record this and then bring the recordings into the classroom for everyone to hear. She was very pleased with this suggestion.
If November would have asked what grade levels he was speaking to, he would have found out that unless kids are 13, they cannot use the google tools. There were many elementary school teachers at his session. And most of what he talked about was google tools. Yes, we know how to use them but they are not available to us.
I will use his resources page, as I have in the past. But I feel a bit let down by this man who really could have helped these southern NH school districts to move forward; instead, I am afraid he turned off a lot of educators who came to be inspired and left feeling irritated.