Tag Archives: training

From Teaching Children to Teaching Adults – Shift your PD Focus

I am an educator in many ways. First, I teach a cabal of sophomores (at Ransom Everglades I teach two courses of United States history). However, I am also a teacher of adults. In my role as Director of Educational Technology and in my work with ISTE and ATLIS, I proselytize, train, and educate.

All of us know (at least intrinsically) that adults and children are very different learners and students; some might argue that adults can be more challenging than children! There is actually a lot of data that highlights how adults differ in learning styles and process. If you want to ensure that your Professional Development sessions are effective, consider doing a little investigation into andragogy (the teaching of adults). I especially liked this infographic:

The Adult Learning Theory Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics

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Redesigning Professional Development: How to Slay the Sit & Get Dragon

As a technology administrator, I’m excited to attend my next session “Redesigning Professional Development: How to slay the sit and get Dragon!” with Jonathan Werner. You can view his slides here. Providing meaningful professional development that brings quality educators into the modern world is always a challenging task. Jonathan is an amazing tech guru and I’m excited to be here and learn from him.

Jonathan starts it out with a video from a “traditional” classroom where a teacher speaks at the front of the room and students reiterate what she is

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

saying. Whoa… I just had flashbacks to Middle School! Ugh! Sadly, this video looks like it was filmed yesterday not 25 years ago! Jonathan says that we need different ways to pursuing professional development. We need to slay this “sit and get” method of professional development. We shouldn’t be teaching teachers with flawed pedagogy!

Start with something you didn’t know yesterday! This demonstrates that you’re not a repository of knowledge. Thanks David Warlick! Social Media (like Twitter) gives us the power to engage with one another in new ways. It’s a great way to build your PLN (but doesn’t replace face to face interaction). Why is twitter so important to Jonathan? Because he is modeling curation. Anything that he knows, he’s standing on the shoulders of other experts.

Jonathan cites that his partner in crime is metacognito, that helps him to capture his thoughts and pathways. It can be challenging to capture and sort. He hopes that metacognito helps him to know why he is doing what he is doing.

This I Believe

The biggest message Jonathan conveys is that you need to apply pedagogy to your professional development! Think about the way you are teaching teachers! We spend a lot of money and time on professional development that it must be maningful, mindful, and thoughtful. We have an absorption method. We need to reinvent PD!

Jonathan says maybe we should rename it. Call it “Professional Learning” or “Professional Curiosity” – Alison Anderson. Sit and get, FAILS! So what does effective PD look like? “PD is most effective when it is long-term, collaborative, school-based, focused on the learning of all students, and linked to the curricula that teachers have to teach.” – Andrew Miller. It must be with your colleagues and focused on students, related to what you teach. I have certainly sat in ‘left field’ talks and they are rarely helpful.

As a norm, are improvement and growth assumed? Probably not… or on a limited basis. For Jonathan, rethinking PD in conjunction with these ideas has been incredibly helpful. This long term climb up a hill has to have objectives for improvement. Growth must be built into all of your initiatives.

“Are your PD offerings directly connected to your mission statement?” – Hans Mundahl. It’s not about the tool you are using, but the process of growth. It must begin and end with students. What are you doing to benefit your students? That should be the essential question all around. So when someone makes a suggestion, the basic question should be “how does that impact the students?” This can refocus the discussion.

Jonathan of course brings back the point of experiential PD and answer the question “why are you lecturing?” As he says, he’s not trying to train us. Never lecture to train. Also, we’re in lecture 2.0. We have all chosen to walk in and are looking for inspiration. We can also vote with our feet. Also, we can go through his slides and use them as a place for dialogue. In this case, the conversation starter is a monologue.

Consider Your Audience

Think of your teachers as your students. People in your PD sessions are students with various needs methods of learning.

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ALOHA – Apathetic, Late, Openly Hostile, Adopter. AHOLA also gets so much time and energy. However, don’t forget that there are others in the room! Jonathan says that you can let go of your ALOHA. Give the ALOHO the time and energy that they deserve but focus on all of your students. He also says to look at the technophobes around you when you are planning. They may look like ALOHA but they often just feel threatened and intimidated. There are Rock Stars who are super advanced and are often bored in the room (I’ve been that person). There are also insecure learners (he calls them Insecure Ida). They feel intimidated by the tools. There also also the awed receptive learners. They love the content but it seems to have no impact on their learning. Also, there are teacher rock stars. They are great teachers outside of technology. Great teachers are the people who will often be your peer leaders.

So we have a heterogeneous classroom of educators. However, on top of that you need about 50 continuous hours of professional development to change a teacher’s practice. — learning forward.

Norms & Givens

Jonathan says that if you do nothing else, do nothing by yourself. Build a support group! Mine is on Twitter and through ISTE and other prominent tech networks. When you are no longer isolated, you can get help and support. Empower teachers to teach other teachers what they’re doing well. This is a concept supported by Jennie Magiera. You need both carrots and sticks. You need some type of pressure to get teachers to come to you. At my school, we do this by allowing my tech sessions count for professional development credits.

Switch up your PD. Give them different faces, places, types, and times. We need variety. There are different access points and ways to get to the information.

Jonathan also suggests that you bring solutions to administrators. Offer them a pilot or a comprehensive plan. Give them possible improvements. If you know your PD is bad, then stating it won’t improve it. Instead, give them the opportunity to improve, even if it’s a small tweak! If you have to do PD but you have a choice as to what it looks like, then that’s great PD!

He also suggests that you plan for organic growth. Do what you can and allow it to grow. As teachers teach teachers, you will get more rapid change. Create lighthouses on your coastline to empower others.

The Deep end can be Scary

If you’re diving into SAMR, then you know that as you get up to modification and redefinition, you are in the deep end. It can be scary! Gie people smaller dips into the SAMR Pool.

Carl Hooker's SAMR pool http://hookedoninnovation.com/

Carl Hooker’s SAMR pool http://hookedoninnovation.com/

Don’t shove people off of the diving board!

You should also advocate for non-tech options. I know that in my classrooms, people are surprised to find that I’m not all tech all the time. When people see you advocating a hybrid model, and using non-tech tools, it gives your advice greater weight. People know I’m the “tech girl” but that I also advocate for non-tech tools.

You should also be willing to fail publicly. Failure is the best teacher. Freakonomics even advocates it for success! The power isn’t in failing, but it’s in recovery. It could mess up your lesson or it could make it great. You need to be willing to problem solve if necessary. Have the capacity to be seen as someone who can keep going when things don’t quite work out.

Blended Models

If we are going to get rid of “sit and get” what does professional development look like? Per Andrew Miller, it’s “online and self directed and supervised and within your brick and mortar building.”  This may look like a Wiki or a section on your website. Offer them a buffet of options. They can visit what they want when they want.

Jonathan offers about 20 ways to rethink your PD, which I wish I could list here.

Parting Thoughts

Whoever you are, embrace that. Jonathan says that he is a disruptor, but that is not everyone. Figure out what you’re comfortable doing as a change agent and embrace it. So if you’re an improv group do improv PD! Man, I wish I were funny. Also, be willing to fail. Not just fail, but fail epically. If you are willing to look like a jackass, you will be fabulous.

The iPad Conference that isn’t an iPad Conference

I recently got some great news. My school, Ransom Everglades, has approved my funding request to attend the iPad Summit in Boston. I have attended every iPad Summit in the past. It’s a unique conference experience – not because of its focus on iPads, but rather its focus less on the tool and more on innovation.

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What I love about the Summit is that you can get real, hands-on training at one of their Pre-Conference workshops. You will walk away with tangible tools that you can apply right away. The conference itself is full of both practical and theoretical topics on the current state of Educational Technology. Be sure to check out the list of speakers and topics here.

In the past, they have featured champions of “big ideas” such as Tony Wagner while at the same time highlighting current classroom teachers, working in the trenches, such as Jennie Magiera.

I have no doubt that this year, I will learn a number of concepts that I can bring into my own classroom as well as to my peers. I’m so excited to be in Boston this Fall!

Flipping your Professional Development

This past weekend, I had the privilege of being an invited guest of Dr. Will Deyamport on his weekly podcasts, “The Dr. Will Show.” The subject of the conversation was flipping your professional development. I recently wrote an article, “Flip your PD for Greater Flexibility and Support.” Our conversation was excellent – we discussed the role that flipped pd plays in training faculty and supporting them in their professional development. You can see the full video below:

I also encourage you to check out Will’s blog for more resources on educational technology.

Flipped Professional Development

The last session for the day I am attending is the Flipped Professional Development by Ryan Eash of TechSmith. You can check out his slides here.

He shared with us a brief video, highlighting a Flipped Professional Development Model:

It discusses the issue that is prevalent in Ed Tech PD – that people are on very different levels and scales. This format (the flipped model) allowed for multiple EdTech teachers to accommodate different needs and levels. It was a popular method among the faculty as it allowed for greater flexibility and leveling.

In order to make a model like this work, you need to have enough instructional technology administrators to effectively provide support for your full staff.

VIa brookscl and Flickr

Via brookscl and Flickr

We talk about the good and bad of professional development practices: not having a supportive infrastructure and lack of directionality (how do I put this in my classroom?) led to the worst experiences, the best were hands on and building lessons.

“What is the best use of classroom time with your students?” – Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams

Conversely, what is the best use of your teacher’s time? Ryan highlights these key elements for effective PD:

  • Focus on classroom application
  • Choices
  • Utilize “experts” in your buildings
  • Move at your own pace
  • Learn by doing
  • Ongoing support and help from peers

“So what does Flipped Professional Development look like at your school?” This element requires a lot of consideration: how much time will people need to complete it? How do you get individuals to participate? Is it a multiple application process?

“How does video help with PD?”

  • Create videos for teachers to watch ahead of time, use PD to learn by doing
  • Use video to provide follow-up resources to answer questions or share more ideas.
  • Provide a video of information & share Google Doc for collaboration
  • Flip your staff meetings!

He next moved to the demonstration using Snagit, a sophisticated screen capturing tool. It allows you to create really powerful still and video captures. If you want to learn more about Snagit, check out their tutorials page and/or this introductory video:

Ryan quickly showed us some of the basic features of Snagit, creating a video right in front of us. A feature I really like is that it readily integrates with Google Drive, Evernote, OneNote, YouTube, and Screencast.com. The Google Drive integration allows you to put it directly into a folder (e.g. a shared class folder) as well as providing you the URL to share.He also showed us Camtasia, which is far more robust and allows for advanced editing.

Another great possibility that Ryan suggest is using students to help teach concepts. If you would like to see it in action, check out TechSherpas.org and attend one of their weekly shows.