Part of my job involves taking administrators and others on visits to innovative schools to conduct learning walks. During the visits we look at classrooms and have the opportunity to speak with students and staff about the work they are doing. Following the visit we debrief to reflect upon what we saw and discuss what we learned that might be useful in our own environments. Most innovative educators I work with find these to be valuable experiences.
What is usually lacking in these visits is the capturing of reflections of those present. Following the event we may send a survey to participants, but the return rate is often dismal and the capturing of all participants reflections is often not effective since capturing while participating in the conversation can prove difficult. I turned to my Twitter and Facebook network to find a solution to this problem. I wanted to find a way that I could provide participants with an email address that they could instantly send reflections to via their Blackberry or other handheld device. I wanted these reflections to go to one local collection area so that during the debrief we could see all participants reflections which we could discuss, build upon, and share with one another and with the school.
I found a great tool for this called http://drop.io. The way it works is I give everyone my drop i.o email address: SchoolVisits@drop.io. They email their reflections to that email as they have them. Then any of us can simply go to my page which is http://drop.io/SchoolVisits. If you want to try this yourself email me at SchoolVisits@drop.io with a school visit reflection question you like to use, then find your answer at http://drop.io/SchoolVisits.
Thanks to Shea Smith for the below Tweet in response to my search for a tool that has this function.
sheasmith@InnovativeEdu Would http://drop.io work? It's free & comes with an email address for posts.