This year we have implemented PLC times with our core content areas. What this means for me is that for the first time in the 12 years as a digital learning coach I have specific time set aside to coach and lead my teachers toward technology implementation.
This also means consistency with the information I share and open discussions with teams of teachers to foster a culture of trust and risk taking.
Each year I meet with campus leaders to find out more about their technology campus goals with their teachers. This year we switched from a 1:1 Mac Air environment with our students to a 1:1 iPad environment and because of that our campus leader’s vision was for each teacher to take just one risk with technology integration.
As many of you know for some educators even one risk is big and scary and definitely not comfortable. For the last few months, I have transitioned my teachers from the typical sit-and-get professional development to more of a collaborative, flexible seating and risk taking environment.
I first read The Future of the Classroom in June and found that it aligns with much of what I’ve learned in my UNT Learning Technologies course work about how students learn, how to best implement technology, and pedagogy.
The next article I came upon presented rooms like the one I created as a “teacher’s playground.” I loved reading how this idea began sparking change across the author’s school district. I recommend you read more about the “Spark Lab” here.
One of the biggest challenges I had before as a digital coach is not having enough time to allow the teachers to explore the tools we have on campus, the digital resources they have access to, and the ability to collaborate as a whole team.
Today I decided to take a risk with my own teachers and present them with two choices for their PD time:
- Work with a partner through a Choice Board in Google Docs to get better with iPad Navigation and Settings.
- Work with a partner using the S. M. A. R. T. goals and applying them to their 1 technology risk.
Both choices were going to meet goals we have set. One goal is to get them more comfortable with the device change and have them see the benefits to student learning using accessibility options. Another goal is to elevate their T-TESS levels as they implement technology into their classrooms. A few weeks ago, we used mentimeter as a quick formative assessment tool to see some of their risk taking goals for the semester/year. So I popped their results back up on the screen as a refresher and then…
I turned on some Piano Guys and let them begin collaborating!
You see if we want teachers to give students choices in their learning and opportunities to collaborate, we have to be willing to show them how to do this with them as they learn. We cannot ask our educators to do something in their classrooms that we are not willing to do when they are spending time with us (administrators, coaches, leaders).
Our teachers need choice and voice in their professional development.
They need time to reflect, talk, ask questions and take risks. It is up to us to immerse them in the same learning environment we want them to use with our students. When they see student voice and choice in action and can refer back to their own personal experience with it, they will begin implementing it in their classrooms!
I would love to collaborate with you and share more about how I created this experience for my teachers! Reach out to me and let me know if you would like to schedule an online meeting or email me with any quick questions you might have!