By Harry Williams


February 16, 2009

Austin, Texas. What a great place for a technology convention for educators.
For the past 5 years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching the two-day Web Academy at the TCEA convention. Educators from all over the state make up the class – and each brings with them a variety of skills and needs. What motivates Texas educators to enroll in this workshop varies. Some take the class because they are looking for best practices to follow for designing and managing their school web sites. Others sign up because they need to learn how to use Adobe software in order to train their own staffs when they get home. Whatever the reason, I try to throw everything I can at them for the two days we are together.
I’ve made my share of mistakes over the years – so each year I try to improve.
Here are my Top 10 Things I try to remember when I teach a workshop on how to use Adobe products:
1. Teach educators the same way you would teach your students in your classroom. Keep them engaged and constantly review them on the skills they have learned.
2. Give your workshop participants time to practice their new skills.
3. Provide participants materials to take notes. They will remember what they learned better if they take their own notes.
4. Never give your participants all your handouts all at once. You will keep your students attention much better if you spread out throughout the day the passing out of handouts and materials.
5. Try to have door prizes. Adobe is great about providing software for your trainings – so be sure to order it in time to have it when your training starts.
6. Make sure your participants know about all the free educator materials on the Adobe web site. I am always surprised at how many teachers do not know about the Digital Design Curriculum that is available in the k-12 section of the Adobe site.
7. Plan for the unexpected – especially if you are training in a lab that is unfamiliar to you. Just because the Fireworks Slideshow tutorial works great on your laptop does not mean the RAM- challenged computers in the training lab will produce the same results.
8. Be honest. It’s okay to tell your students you don’t know the answer to their questions. They will appreciate your candor.
9. Give breaks as needed. Six hours in a dark, cold lab gets uncomfortable fast.
10. Try to make yourself available when the workshop is over (I know this is hard.). Share your email address in case your students have questions later. Also, make your handouts available online for downloading extra copies when they get home.