The Makings of a Successful Professional Development Program

This quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University I am focused on the fourth standard of the ISTE Coaching Standards, Professional Development and Program Evaluation:

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

Over the last several weeks, my classmates and I have learned how to implement a successful professional development program and I have identified the following elements as being most useful when evaluating a professional development program:

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Sadly, professional development is generally “something that is ‘done’ to teachers” (Pilar, 2014). Teachers need opportunities to explore their own interests and venture into those topics at a personalized level that works for their individual learning styles. In a study conducted by the Center for Professional Education, it was found that “90% of teachers reported participating in some form of professional development, and they also reported that it was not helpful in their practice. Thus, professional development is happening, but it is not effective” (Blattner, 2015). Imagine a place where teachers drive their learning by expressing their interests, learning at their own pace, implementing their discoveries and reflecting on their current and future practices. … Read More

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What Does “Redefinition” Look Like?

Most educators are becoming familiar with the SAMR Model, a framework designed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura to “help educators infuse technology into teaching and learning” (Shrock). While there are four equally important aspects to the SAMR Model, this post is going to look at R = Redefinition.

What exactly is the “Redefinition” of the SAMR Model? And how can we implement it into our classrooms? Let’s take a look!

Drag your cursor to 1:46 to see these teachers practice redefinition:

How is this “Redefinition”? Ask yourself these questions:
redefinition-of-samr

Could the teachers have played back the golf ball bouncing in slow motion without the technology?

Could the teachers have watched the movement of the ball at varying speeds if this lesson had been taught without the technology?

Have they (or how could they) share this work and their findings with a larger audience? How could this work benefit others? …When unpacking science standards? …In other contexts?

How did this work transform the lesson?


References:

Miller, M. (2014, April 3). 10 ways to reach SAMR’s redefinition level [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://ditchthattextbook.com/2014/04/03/10-ways-to-reach-samrs-redefinition-level/

NGSS. (n.d.). NGSS: science and engineering practices [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/science-engineering-practices-achieve#

Schrock, K. (n.d.). Resources to support the SAMR … Read More

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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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Reflections of a Peer Coach

Peer Coach Straightening

While the entire Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University is designed to be a hands-on experience which embeds learning opportunities into students’ current workplace, this course, in particular, provided students with a meaningful opportunity to practice our newfound skills in a professional environment. Under the tutelage of Dr. David Wicks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Digital Education Leadership program and Dr. Les Foltos, Director of Educational Innovation at Peer-Ed and author of Peer Coaching: Unlocking the Power of Collaboration, students were trained as peer coaches and we worked with a collaborating teacher from our respective schools. I chronicled that learned and the skills I obtained in posts throughout the quarter and now, as this course comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the work that was done and thinking about how to sustain my skills as a peer coach in the future.

The importance of peer coaching practice in schools became evident to me very quickly into the quarter. Teachers that are supported create students that are successful. Well-renowned researchers of teaching methods and staff development, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers, have found that teachers that have been coached generally demonstrate the following:

  • Practiced
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Librarians and Teachers Working to Incorporate 21st Century Skills

This week I explore the first and sixth ISTE Coaching Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. Through my studies, the terms “21st century skills” and “21st century learners” continue to pop up. These phrases have been used in abundance over the last decade, but what do they really mean? And how do I, as a school librarian, help incorporate them into the classroom? In an effort to succinctly articulate my musings, my question this week is as follows:

What are 21st century skills and how can they be incorporated into the classroom in a meaningful way that enhances the curriculum?

Before I can explore the implementation of 21st century skills, I needed to pause and illustrate what a 21st century learner might look like:

21st Century Learners

The National Council of Teachers of English define a 21st century learner as someone who is able to:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology,
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought,
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes,
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information,
  • Create, critique,
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My First Tuning Protocol

This quarter in the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University I am working on creating an Action Plan to help address a particular challenge that may be preventing a school from realizing their ideal learning environment. In an earlier post, I share the obstacles a school is currently facing in the aftermath of a speedy 1-to-1 laptop rollout. As I formulate the action plan, I have sought feedback from my classmates and professors, working towards a document that can eventually be presented to the school. Part of that feedback took place in a Tuning Protocol, a reflective tool often used by educators seeking constructive criticism. This criticism can be used to “increase student achievement and establish a learning community” (Dearman, et. al, 2005, pg. 636). First developed by Joseph McDonald and David Allen in 1992, the Tuning Protocol was created in order to improve student assessment practices (Blythe, et. al, 1999, pg. 27). The format allows educators to “receive direct and respectful feedback on the problems they present, as well as the opportunity to reflect on the feedback” (McDonald, et. al, 2003).

If you’ve never participated in a Tuning Protocol, it can be a frightening and … Read More

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My Ideal Learning Environment

With all the challenges educators face, it can be easy to get lost in the frustrations and road blocks. While those barriers are very real and deserve attention, our hopes and aspirations also deserve consideration. Have you pictured your ideal learning environment lately? I have. And it’s reinvigorating me.

Ideal

My ideal learning environment is one where students:

  • Guide their own learning by asking questions and following curiosities.
  • Explore ideas that pique their interest, thereby formulating their own units of study.
  • Work collaboratively with others both inside and outside of the classroom in an effort to pursue those interests.
  • Are encouraged to move freely while still understanding the importance of coming back together and being respectful to others.
  • Trust their own instincts and grow into responsible “decision-making” and “self-reliant” learners (Saxena, 2013).
  • Have access to the world, in whatever form that makes sense in that time and place.
  • Learn from one another.

My ideal learning environment is one where teachers:

  • Feel comfortable in stepping down from the stage and allow students to see that they don’t know everything, but they are interested in learning alongside their students.
  • Have ample opportunities for asking questions and taking risks while feeling supported and
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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

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Taking a Step Backward

Earlier this week I wrote of my desire to implement the use of Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in a school I’ve partnered with. As I feverishly typed out my goal of changing the school’s tech climate, I quickly found myself slamming on the brakes and furrowing my brow. I know that I desperately want to be a GAFE school, but I’m not able to article the reasons why. What challenges is the school currently facing that could be solved with the implementation of these tools? What is the pedagogical- and content-driven reasons behind my rationale? And most importantly, why GAFE?

gafe-e1433470938578While I’m still in the process of wrestling with those ideas, my (wildly supportive) classmates and professors gave me a great deal of thought-provoking feedback throughout the week. Annie Tremonte, one of my classmates suggested using this blog post as a platform to flush out my ideas and reflect on the feedback I was provided from others. This format is very foreign for me and I encourage you to continue to provide me your additional thoughts and reactions, allowing me to continue to grow my ideas in a very transparent way.

Reflections on the Feedback

“While focusing on Read More

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Answering the “Why” Before the “How”

Last semester I examined the ISTE Teacher Standards through the Digital Education Leadership program at Seattle Pacific University. This semester I will start my exploration of the ISTE Coaching Standards, paying particular attention to the third standard, Digital Age Learning Environments. As I analyze various resources in the coming weeks, I will be viewing them from the lens of how to formulate an action plan to implement Google Apps for Education (GAFE) in a school I’m consulting with. As it stands, the school I’m examining currently employs a rather disjointed collection of tools to complete any number of tasks; Blackboard for grading, Edmodo for posting assignments, Outlook email for submitting work, LibGuides for content curation, Padlet for collaborating, the list goes on.

Tech Balance

While all of these tools serve an excellent purpose, how are they working together to create a well-rounded, transformative experience for our students? Tech coach, Josiah Hodgett from the Shell Lake School District writes, “GAFE is a technology tool that can help you to both inform and instruct. Coming from a theory like TPACK [Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge] – it’s time to look at the interplay of Tech – Pedagogy – Content and determine how they … Read More

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