Last Monday at the Norteast Regional Conference on the Social Studies, sixteen social studies teachers attended a working session about some online “cloud” tools. The session ran the full day and was designed to give the participants a chance to explore. It wasn’t a “presentation.” Each person got the chance to sign up for a mailing list, Twitter for a professional learning network, a blog, a wiki, collaborative note-taking and Google Docs. Each person made choices and spent time actually working. It wasn’t listen-and-learn; it was playful exploration.

People enjoyed active, differentiated professional development. By making individual choices and doing real exploratory activities, the participants took away more than notes and a handout.

The presentation and handouts are available. The materials are free to reuse and modify under the Creative Commons Attribution license. I would love to hear about any use you make of them.

Next year’s conference is going to be held again at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, Sturbridge Massachusetts sponsored by the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

Social Studies teachers of the Northeastern part of the United states are gathering in Sturbridge Massachusetts for three days this coming week.

The conference happens every year. NERC 2011 has the topic:

Defining Moments:
People, Places and Events

I’ll be there doing a presentation on Monday and providing general tech support Tuesday and Wednesday.

If you are there, stop to say hello.