From my interpretation of the standards, ISTE 5 is about how teachers model lifelong learning and engage in learning to benefit their school or community through the use of digital tools. I wanted to find what districts might do to craft the best PD that they can for teachers who are at all different levels of comfort and proficiency with technology. Additionally if districts develop a successful model for tech PD I think that would give teachers some of the tools they need to lead in their individual schools. When I write about technology I’m referring to technology for professional daily use as well as integrating technology into the learning environment. The reason I want to focus on both professional use and technology integration is because I’ve noticed that the questions I field in my current position deal with both use and instructional integration and I think that a varied approach will serve the most teachers.
First, it is important to acknowledge that there are different levels of learners, and from there I think that districts need to build in means for teachers a varying levels to receive quality professional development. I also think it is important for districts to help buildings to organize their own technology PD in innovative ways. I have a few ideas about what has worked for my building, or some teachers in my building but overall I’m hoping to suggest an approach that might work to help teachers receive high quality and meaningful PD to aid technology integration.
Through the years I’ve attended a number of professional development classes taught by different instructors. From those experiences I’ve tried to distill down what makes for a fulfilling experience in a tech PD. I’ll admit that I’m somewhat confused. Thinking back I know I have been to some great sessions and some that felt less than great. I know that often the learning just has to makes sense for the learner, still I think there has to be some kind of formula or guideline. What makes it click? One experience I’ll highlight worked for me. I went a training on Vodcasting, which is recording a short video for students to use. I’ve always been drawn to video so I had a particular interest in the topic. It was a great combination of something that felt relevant to me and something I could foresee helping my students. In that sense, I think it fit the perfect time scenario. Also it was just beyond my realm of comfort. In order to do the homework required of the class, I had to learn to use iMovie, which I don’t find intuitive at all. That class pushed me, but today 7 years later, I find that I’m still using some skills from that class in my classroom to create math videos. That seems like a relatively successful PD and it doesn’t even fit all of the guidelines that I read about this week. So I can imagine that if PD opportunities were redesigned with best practices in mind to serve the most teachers possible with sustained focus, many more would be meaningful for more teachers.
As a side note, one of my colleagues in the DEL program posted a great overview of what she has been doing in her district, and it is a wonderful meaningful approach for teachers. I would like to link it later with her permission.
Based on my reading I have some good ideas about what could be meaningful for teacher going forward but I wonder how we are affected by past PD experiences? Changing perceptions will take time. No doubt providing a meaningful set of professional development classes for teachers is a struggle districts will continue to have. I hope that through new ideas and strategies all professional development will become more meaningful for more teachers rather than just a signature to say that you have attended, because you had to pick a class, or you had to be there for some other reason. I’m excited that part of my new position will be providing PD regarding technology, I’m excited to learn more about the process and to attempt to provide meaningful and engaging PD.
The ideas below are some of the things that I think might lead to a meaningful transformation in professional development. Of course this is really just scratching the surface in terms of resources that are available. However, I thought I would include them because I found them to be innovative or essential or both and I think they could help to further differentiate the PD that is offered.
Interesting approaches to PD that I came across in my reading:
- Leveraging Twitter as a district to host chats, showcase work and provide a space PLC just like Twitter is great at doing within district (Raths, 2015)
- Allowing microcredentials as a way to demonstrate competency (Raths, 2015)
- If you want to learn more about microcredentials, I came across them when writing a post on ISTE 2 where I learned about Deeper Learning
- Establishing and maintaining a district repository of tools, videos, screencasts and other resources related to technology PD
- Establishing a strong team of technology coaches to journey with and guide teachers
- Provide enough PD for sustained learning (50 hours!) (Crawford, 2014)
To me these are just some of the ways to start changing the PD model from within a school district. Ideally it would be great to see a state get involved in this process to encourage districts to begin to change the way we do PD. I’m excited to have a chance to do this in my district and to support teachers as they continue their journey to meaningful technology integration. If you would like to read more in depth about any of the ideas I’ve presented here, I found a great resource from EdSurge that is cited below. It really seems to be a an amazing guide to how some districts are retooling professional development.
This quarter I feel that I have grown quite a lot in my understanding of the ISTE standards for teachers. From the start I had a hard time shifting my focus from students to teachers. At the start I don’t feel that I understood the standards for teacher well. Now through our investigation and blog posts this quarter I feel that I have a much better understanding of these standards and I understand how the connect and link to the student standards. Knowing my own predisposition for rigidity and how I resort to the standard practice I think that my growth in ISTE #1 is the most significant. I also feel that it is an area where I can continue to grow as long as I push my own thinking and remind myself of the myriad of ways there are to learn and to demonstrate learning. Another area for growth for me is in regard to ISTE Standard 5 and Coaching Standard 2. As a technology coach I feel much more prepared to lead other teachers as they strive to use technology in a meaningful way with students, to facilitate assessing students in a formative way and to connect with other teachers across the globe. Through the investigations I have completed during this last quarter and from reading the investigations my colleagues have posted, I feel infinitely more prepared to respond to the needs of teachers. I can’t wait to draw upon the resources and tools I have come across in this course as I assist teacher with the integration of technology into their classes.
20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network – Getting Smart by Miriam Clifford. (2013, January 17). Retrieved June 4, 2017, from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2013/01/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/
A Blueprint for Personalized Professional Development by Teachers, for Teachers – EdSurge News. (2014, October 22). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-10-22-a-blueprint-for-personalized-professional-development-by-teachers-for-teachers
A Guide To Crafting The Perfect Next Gen PD Model – EdSurge News. (2015, February 14). Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-14-a-guide-to-crafting-the-perfect-next-gen-pd-model
A Guide to Proficiency-Based Professional Development – EdSurge News. (2015, February 22). Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2015-02-22-a-guide-to-proficiency-based-professional-development
Crawford, A. (2014, December 5). A Farewell to Pointless PD – EdSurge News. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-12-05-opinion-a-farewell-to-pointless-pd
From Pre-Fab to Personalized: How Districts Are Retooling Professional Development – EdSurge Guides. (2015, January 22). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://www.edsurge.com/research/guides/from-pre-fab-to-personalized-how-districts-are-retooling-professional-development
Patterson, M. (2016, April 54). Tips for Transforming Educational Technology through Professional Development and Training [Text]. Retrieved June 4, 2017, from https://edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2016/04/tips-transforming-educational-technology-through-professional-development-and
Raths, D., & 02/04/15. (n.d.). 5 Tech Tools That Help Personalize PD -. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from https://thejournal.com/articles/2015/02/04/5-tech-tools-that-help-personalize-pd.aspx