Individualized Professional Development through Mentorship

Last semester I began my exploration of the ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. This semester I continue that inquiry, while paying particular attention to the fourth standard, Professional Development and Program Evaluation. This standard, more so than any other, delves deep into the topic and addresses several areas of importance:

Technology coaches conduct needs assessments, develop technology-related professional learning programs, and evaluate the impact on instructional practice and student learning:

a. Conduct needs assessments to inform the content and delivery of technology-related professional learning programs that result in a positive impact on student learning
b. Design, develop, and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment learning experiences using a variety of research-based, learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment tools to address the diverse needs and interests of all students
c. Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience
d. Coach teachers in and model design
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Un-rollout to Fix Problems With Technology?

Photo Credit: Brad Flickinger
Photo Credit: Brad Flickinger

Since the rollout of a 1-to-1 laptop program in the fall of 2014 with a school I’m consulting with, there has been very little continuity between the classes. Both teachers and students are so focused on learning the technology that they get lost in the purpose of the device in front of them; to enhance what was already happening in the classroom. I thought by implementing Google Apps for Education, I could solve the problem. Bring all the teachers together. The platform isn’t the problem. The device isn’t the problem. The problem is the preparedness and speed in which the rollout took place. Teachers were given laptops to “play with” for a year before they were put in the hands of students. This experimental time didn’t come with robust professional development opportunities, dedicated mentorship sessions, or even a simple instruction manual. Teachers were expected, much like the students, to “figure it out.” Society claims that our students are “digital natives,” (my argument against that statement needs to be saved for another time) but if we hand over devices to all of the faculty without any support, we must expect them to be natives to the … Read More

Mystery Skype: Design Phase

This quarter we are exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards and in order to take that learning to the next level, in knowledge and practice, we are planning and facilitating Global Collaborative Projects (GCP). I introduce the project and give an overview of my plans in a previous post, check it out here. In this post, I outline my design for the project and review the 6 A’s of project design:

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6 A’s of Project Design

Authenticity
My students attend a small non-secular school where they participate in a Hebrew immersion program for half of their school day. I was talking to a student recently and they mentioned that it was hard to do their Hebrew homework because they didn’t have anyone at home that spoke the language and could offer assistance. This lead me to realize that my students are part of a very small community and it would be a great opportunity for them to see that there are other students from around the world, that they have things in common with.

By connecting my students to another Jewish day school, they can learn about another school, while noting the various similarities and differences. This can help them

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ISTE Teacher Standard 5: Create Individualized Opportunities for Professional Development

In my final week of exploring the ISTE Teacher Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University, I examine the fifth standard: Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership. In an effort to move into a coaching and mentorship role, I reflected on the following question: “How can teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources?”

Keep Educating Yourself (1)

I work at a private school where many of the teachers are not formal educators; they come to the school with a strong background in the school’s cultural and religious beliefs, but not in classroom teaching. I have noticed that many of them do not pursue professional development opportunities that could help them advance their skills in classroom management, assessment, or effective teaching. Blogger and widely respected technology integration specialist, Vicki Davis states, “Professional development is a vital part of improving your technique as a teacher. Learning best practices and practicing best practices are both important. You can make a school better by improving its teachers. Effective [professional development] can do that” (2015). With this in the forefront … Read More

ISTE Teacher Standard 4: Roll Out a Successful 1:1 Program Through Phases

This week I explore the fourth ISTE Teacher Standard: Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University and I examine how I can implement the following question into my own practice: “How can teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices?”

My school recently revisited our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) after not having revised it in over two years. We found several discrepancies and have noted that several parents, while they signed the document, still had an array of questions about the one-to-one laptop program and what the laptops should (and shouldn’t) be used for both on and off campus. With this in mind, the school’s Tech Task Force debated the idea of requiring students and parents to attend an orientation in addition to just signing the AUP. I reviewed the policies and procedures of several other schools in an effort to find what works best for the majority. It seems, there is no majority. All schools approach this issue differently, with varying levels of success. What works for one school, doesn’t work for the … Read More

Using Student-Created Book Trailers to Increase Library Circulation

I shared in a recent post that this quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University, I have been exploring the ASSURE Model, an instructional model used to design lessons that effectively incorporate the use of technology to enhance student learning. This model identifies six steps in the planning process and those steps form the acronym, ASSURE:

Image created by Becky Todd, Librarian/Media Specialist, www.beckytoddlibrarian.org
Image created by Becky Todd, Librarian/Media Specialist, www.beckytoddlibrarian.org

How Was This Model Used?

Using the ASSURE Model, I designed a student-created book trailer project, where students share their excitement of a favorite book in an effort to increase circulation rates and encourage reading for pleasure. Here you will find my plans for the project, following the ASSURE Model:

Download (PDF, 417KB)


Reflection on the Process

I have started this project with my third grade class and it has been a huge success. The students are coming to library excited, ready to work and eager to move through the steps of the process. The students are still in the initial planning phases, but based on their work thus far, I anticipate the success will continue. One of the most exciting, unforeseen benefits of the introduction of this project has … Read More

ISTE 6: Are Basic Computer Skills Still Important?

Photo Credit: OpenClips via Pixabay
Photo Credit: OpenClips via Pixabay

The end of the quarter at Seattle Pacific University is quickly coming to a close, as is my adventure diving into the ISTE Student Standards. If this is your first time visiting my blog, I encourage you to check out my explorations of standards 1, 2, 3, and 4. This week, I will be digging into ISTE Student Standard 6, attempting to answer the question, “How can students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations?” You might notice that I have failed to include standard 5, this standard addresses Digital Citizenship issues. The students in the Digital Education Leadership program have examined this standard at length through our Group and Individual Projects, I invite you to check those out!

I recently attended an EdCamp (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, this video is a must) where I met with several librarians who were talking about the need for basic computer skill instruction. After much discussion and reflecting on the standard for this week, I was left asking myself the following question:

How can the library play a central role in facilitating a scope and sequence of computer Read More

Exploring the ASSURE Model Through Teacher Education

This quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program through Seattle Pacific University, I have been working together with my classmates to explore the ASSURE Model, an instructional model used to design lessons that effectively incorporate the use of technology to enhance student learning. This model identifies six steps in the planning process and those steps form the acronym, ASSURE:

Image created by Becky Todd, Librarian/Media Specialist, www.beckytoddlibrarian.org
Image created by Becky Todd, Librarian/Media Specialist, www.beckytoddlibrarian.org

What Does This Look Like?

My classmates and I created a face-to-face session for educators who are interested in incorporating technology into their classroom but are looking for basic management techniques to help them be comfortable and successful. The design of this lesson took place over an entire quarter, working on one of four phases and then seeking feedback from the professors before moving forward. This format allowed us to gain outside perspective, make revisions to the lesson plan and then use that feedback as we transitioned into the following steps of the ASSURE Model.

Here you will find our plans for the project, including the handouts that will be provided to session participants:

Download (PDF, 694KB)


Reflection on the Process

What worked well?

I really enjoyed being able to meet … Read More

Guiding Principle Three

Create opportunities for project-based learning experiences that incorporate connections that flatten the walls of the classroom.


In my mission statement, I write that I hope to “[Create] authentic experiences that foster a sense of joy for learning” and in the 21st century classroom, one way to make that happen is to encourage project-based learning. Melissa Jacobs-Israel, School Library Journal contributor describes project-based learning as an opportunity where “[students] are learning how to develop intriguing questions for further discovery and research, investigate a topic, construct new meanings, develop opinions and supporting arguments, apply new understandings, create final products, and reflect on what they learned” (Jacobs-Israel, 2013). There could be no better place for this to occur, than in the library. In fact, journalist Suzie Boss argues that librarians should be at the forefront of project-based learning experiences in their school: “A key player to invite into these collaborative conversations is the school librarian or library media specialist. Their understanding of information literacy and digital citizenship can make a difference across the arc of projects. What’s more, librarians may know about students’ out-of-class interests through their reading choices or online interests” (Boss, 2013).

Through project-based learning, students are provided with authentic experiences … Read More

Guiding Principle Two

Provide students and staff with instruction and resources that reflect current information needs and anticipate changes in technology and education.


In 2009, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) developed a set of guidelines to help “define the future direction of school library programs” (p. 7) and those guidelines were then published in Empowering Learners : Guidelines for School Library Programs. When looking back on my mission statement, I realized there is one passage that I wanted to specifically target and further articulate: “[U]nearth ways to mirror what is happening in the classroom with the outside world” (Todd, 2014). This principle, as written by AASL, exemplifies precisely what I am hoping to convey to my patrons; a library experience that is rich with print and digital information, where both exposure and instruction are equally important.

I recently posted my mission statement on my blog and solicited comments from readers across the globe and one reader provided me with some very insightful feedback: “Could another librarian take your mission statement and would it represent who they are equally well? It’s like the mission statements of libraries or colleges. Many of them sound the same. We all are committed to creating … Read More