I have many thoughts pop into my head when I hear Professional Development… relevant, worthwhile, one size fits all, personalized. When I was teaching, I can probably count on one hand the professional developments I found relevant or worthwhile; PD was something I would not get excited about because I was learning about things that were either forced on me, I had no say, and I was receiving the same message that 30 of my other colleagues were receiving. Once I became a Lead Teacher, professional development was one of my main responsibilities and I started to have a new appreciation for it because I was the one providing PD. As an administrator, I love PD and see it as one of my main tools to work with staff and help them become better at their practice. I am a firm believer that administrators are Lead Learners and should also be providers of PD; if we are instructional leaders then we should be able to provide tools for staff to help them become better. I also wanted to expand upon the traditional PD model; all staff enters our media center and we provide one message to all staff. This is not personalized and does not meet the needs of everyone; we have recreated the PD model at Clear Spring High School this year. We are running traditional PD (with a personalized twist) as well as flipped PD; we are calling it Hybrid PD. I am passionate about instructional technology and the use of Twitter as PD; I have often said and written that Twitter is the best PD I have received because I tailor it for my needs; its content I want when I want it and where I want it. I wanted to provide this for our teachers as well as offer face-to-face traditional PD but in a more intimate setting (5-8 teachers per session).
Traditional PD- we polled our staff on technology needs (and UbD needs) so that they could let us know tools and UbD sessions they wanted or needed more help on. We took their input and designed 4 PD sessions (Google Drive Basics, Google Classroom, EdPuzzle, and UbD Planning/Essential Questions) along with a STEAM PD session since that is one of our school focuses as well. All teachers will take a STEAM PD session and then choose 2 other sessions with an optional extra choice. We always state the students should have choice and voice in the classroom and we wanted to offer that with our traditional PD. Each group has anywhere from 4-8 teachers in it and the PD is more personalized to meet their needs; this leads to more engagement, professional conversations, and the chance that teachers will put these ideas into practice. We are running this PD from September through November and so far the feedback has been positive and teachers are placing these ideas into practice in their classrooms.
Hybrid PD- this idea came from utilizing Twitter for PD and how much I have gained from this; we are fortunate enough to have teachers who are great at utilizing technology in the classroom and this year we were able to fit into our schedule an extra period off for them. During this period, they are planning, modeling, collaborating, and co-teaching with other staff members on instructional technology best practices. This has been a wonderful tool for teachers who are hesitant to use technology for fear of failure or not working properly as well as veteran technology users who want to use more tools and effectively engage our students. I spoke with these two teachers, Amy Kelly and Stephen Schawalder, about having a one stop shop for instructional technology tools for our staff so that we could have everything centralized for them. I explained to them that I had a vision of having a website that staff could visit when they wanted to and where they wanted to in order to gain more knowledge about tools they could use for effective use of instructional technology. I shared that I had created a website right before I came to Clear Spring, CSHS Blazers, that I was hoping we could use but once my school year got rolling, I ran out of chances to work on this site and make it useful. Amy and Stephen listened to my ideas, visited the site and immediately took what I had worked on and transformed it into an amazing instructional technology website. I cannot praise these two enough for the work they put into our site and how wonderful and practical they made the site. They even added a calendar for teachers to be able to book a time with them to work, plan or teach together. Please feel free to visit the site and use it. We are very proud of this site and it has been amazing for our staff to have tools they can read about, watch videos about, and then have the opportunity to have plan and co-teach with amazing instructional technology users. This has been a wonderful tool for our staff and I have witnessed far more meaningful and engaging uses for instructional technology; teachers are using it and planning for it with a purpose. Here is our sight: CSHS Tech Site
Technology allows us to do amazing work in education and we wanted to harness this power with our PD plan. Please let me know if you have any questions about this or even feedback on the site. Please mention me in your tweet if you want more information. Thanks for reading.