Types of Professional Development: Awareness Presentation

Because information technology (hardware and software as well as network resources) changes so quickly and new tools are developed and refined so quickly, it is likely that options exist that even connected educators are not aware exist. The purpose of an awareness presentation is simply to introduce a technology or strategy to an educator (or group of educators). After an awareness presentation, those educators who are interested in the topic will have access to resources for further exploring the topic. Awareness presentations are characteristically:

  • very brief (10 minutes or so)- A “show-and-tell” session included in the agenda of a faculty meeting is common, as is a round robin with several awareness presentations set up in one place and groups rotating through the individual presentations.
  • allow for reflection- Because the new tools introduced in awareness presentations may be perceived as unnatural to some teachers, the chance to hear others’ perceptions is a chance to connect with the new ideas and tools. Of course, the opposite may occur as well, and reflection may be the chance for educators to criticize new ideas or tools. Focusing discussion in awareness presentations around questions of effort expectancy (e.g. What will be easier if we use this?) or performance expectancy (“What will this help us do better?”) tend to prevent negative reactions in awareness presentation reflection. 
  • include options for further exploration- By design, an awareness presentation gives the audience minimal (even no) experience actually using the tool. Because of that, there must be a way for interested audience members can learn more about the tools after the presentation ends.