Sunday, May 03, 2020

Transform Your Teaching - Professional Development for Teachers

Our district has always supported a technology course being taught in the summer and fall. The purpose of it is to give teachers time to learn new skills and design activities for their classrooms. But with Emergency Remote Teaching happening now, the tech team thought it was important that teachers have an opportunity to think about new ways to look at their classroom practice as they continue teaching from home. I stumbled across a great article by John Spencer and AJ Juliani called  7 Big Ideas as You Shift to Online Learning with a free eBook A Beginner's Guide to Shifting to Online Learning. I thought it could fit well into our practice. The main point is that you can't convert your current teaching to online, rather it's important to "think about the creative and connective capacity of technology to design learning experiences that would have been inconceivable before" (pg. 4). 

We decided to run the class - and while it is required reading for the course, we also wanted to give all teachers in the district the opportunity to have a conversation about the article. It was run past the Administrative Team and they thought it was a great idea. We offered 3 times to meet asynchronously. Teachers signed up via a Google Form. Everyone "met" in a Google Hangout. We used a Google slide show for the agenda and with information about next steps. After being introduced, we broke them out in small groups in separate Hangout "rooms" (a model that they could adopt). We mixed the groups - elementary, middle, and high school and administration. The tech integrators were able to "drop" into the breakout rooms. After a 20 minute conversation, each group had a slide to demonstrate their learning. We then came back to the main Hangout and debriefed. 

There was an amazing turnout. It was clear that the 7 Steps in the article resonated with the group and that they were hungry for conversation. I was so impressed with the level of commitment our teachers have for wanting to transform their classrooms. I think we should do this again soon. 

Thank you to John Spencer and AJ Juliani for continuing to produce such relevant material.