How to Lead the Horse to Water?

Apparently, I can't even lead a horse to water, much less make it drink.

I held a tech session recently at school to introduce interested colleagues to free and ongoing professional development opportunities. The plan: show them several ways to learn online (Future of Education interview series ( and Learn Central webinars) and then show and have them sign up for Twitter and have it culminate in participation in a Tuesday edchat session. It was going to be great to show them immediately how to learn from others all over the world.

One person showed.

The week before I held a session on organization and document sharing. Two showed for that. I should have quit while I was ahead.

Of course, it was in the middle of summer and I only gave them a few days notice so that could have been a big factor. Maybe the topics were not that exciting, interesting or maybe I used terms that had no appeal on their own. But I had a theory that I thought would make this work: use known terminology ("collaborative documents" and "take and store notes, save class files, post assignments" instead of "wikis" and "Evernote") and enticing wording ("many ways to learn online ... You can even carry on a discussion with colleagues and 'colleagues in spirit' at any time") to lure them in.

It's time for a new plan: show and tell. I'll invite several faculty members to show something they are doing. At least they might show and we'll have some built in attendees. Even if they are the only ones we will learn from each other. Then discussion will follow. Anyone who is there who is not "presenting" will find out what his or her colleagues are up to. They are welcome to be lurkers. After all, that's how it starts for many on Twitter and through webinars.

So maybe the key isn't leading the horses to water.  The key may be to figure out how to make them thirsty.

Will it work? Do you have other ideas?


  1. Good morning Mr. K. I am a middle school librarian. I host Tech Tuesday once a month in my media center. I invite colleagues to join me on their planning period to learn about a new technology that they can use in their classroom. Many say they are too busy to attend, but I have a steady audience of about 7 to 8 participants. Food is what gets them there. I bring a cake and juice and it is always a draw. I would love to have more participants, however, part of the problem is teachers not understanding that they can use technology to teach the lessons they are already teaching, or having a fear of using technology. I'll continue to try growing my group. Onward and upward...

    1. Food!!! I did not think of that and it is a brilliant idea. Maybe I'll schedule the sessions so they end right around lunch and see if I can get the administration to pay (they are always very supportive). I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks and good luck in your sessions as well.


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