November 14, 2013

Technology Together: Whole School Professional Development for Capability and Confidence – From Jen Carey

You can also read this post on Jen’s blog.

The next conference I am attending is by Sam Bruzzese (you can check out his blog here). If you would like to see the notes for his talk, check out the linkhere. I’m excited to hear more information about providing good professional development.

Sam starts the session by taking a Socrative Poll. If you’re unfamiliar with Socrative, it’s worth a look – it’s a great tool to quiz and poll groups. It’s a highly flexible and versatile tool! Sam recommends using it in your professional development to take a pulse of the room and being sure that your faculty understands the content. Sam states that the social media (back-channeling) element combined with Socrative can provide invaluable live feedback. Sam references a book that we should explore for professional development: Whole School Professional Development.

In the world we currently live in, technology has become fully engrained in our lives. It is how we learn and communicate with one another. Sometimes, this can be limiting

When we do professional development, we often do things the same way – even when we know that they don’t work and will not improve the overall system. We have a “learned helplessness.” When it comes to technology, it is important to keep in mind that modeling is key – if you do not model, then you are not improving the system. You must “walk the talk” with your teachers, otherwise you will get stuck on the elevator.

We must constantly ask for feedback. Without regular student and teacher surveys, you do not know where they are. This is vital in understanding where they are, how they are progressing, and how to get where we want to be. This should not only occur throughout the year, but when implementing new projects. For example, you can survey students before a project and then after, you can ask students about their internet access at home (do they have it? is it filtered?), and do they enjoy how technology is used in class? You can survey students easily use tools like Survey MonkeyPoll EverywhereSocrative, and even Google Forms. Surveys can be short and to the point or broader.

“Technology Together is founded on the idea that adoption and integration of technology by teachers (and students) is influenced by their attitudes, believes, values, motivation, confidence, and learning strategies.”

He highlights that you tend to relate to technology based on your initial experiences with technology – whether it was last week, last year, or 20 years ago. This is why you must survey your staff to gauge your staff’s comfort level with technology. Surveying is the cornerstone of effective PD.

  1. Technology learning is different from technology training.
  2. Technology competency is different from technology capacity.
  3. Adoption & integration of technology is influenced by teachers’ attitudes, beliefs, values, motivation, confidence, and learning strategies.
  4. Technology learning is complex and influenced by school culture.
  5. A whole school approach maximizes school outcomes.
  6. Leadership is important in establishing a supportive school environment.
  7. How teachers learn is just as important as what teachers learn.
  8. Teacher learning and culture changes.

Courtesy of WIkimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So what is a metacognitive approach? Quite simply, it’s thinking about how you learn. This determines how we will move forward in our own learning and framing the learning of others. When we approach the technology ladder, we have to take it one step at a time. This process is a journey with ups and downs along the way. There is never a “perfect time” to start.

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them the tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” – Steve Jobs

You can plan your whole professional development experience from consumption to creation to curation. If we teach educators how to effectively do this they will bring it into their classrooms.