Our school has embraced the integration of technology as a key component to enhance the learning experience. We went from 120 Chromebooks to over 1600 Chromebooks in about one year and when you include our computer labs, we are at a 1:3 device to student ratio. While this shift in instructional resources has been promising one of the greatest needs of our teachers has been the ever-limited resource, time. Despite ongoing support and cohort meetings, teachers need and want the time to discover and integrate technology in the classroom.
Here is the video that set the tone for the day:
With the generous support of our administration, we recently had two release days for our teachers who have a class set of Chromebooks. This professional development opportunity was exactly what teachers needed. Teachers spent the day thinking about “What does technology make possible?” and creating a “playground” experience where we looked at platforms from the student and teacher perspective, the possibilities Google Cardboard creates, and ultimately, thought about how we can integrate technology in our lessons/units that will be transformative based on the SAMR model.
Some reflections from the day:
“Today was very helpful. It did not feel overwhelming and, in fact, it was inspiring because I can see all of these new possibilities for my classroom.”
“Wow, I learned so much today.”
“This is exactly what I needed. Having the opportunity to work with my colleagues and share what we are doing helps me see how I can do this in my classroom.”
Takeaways from these Release Days:
- We all need time to press pause, slow down and explore possibilities without having to worry about our giant “To-do” lists.
- By giving teachers time to discover and integrate technology in the classroom you help to create capacity with these teachers. I am a part-time EdTech Coordinator for my site and I am the only one in this position. As much as I want to support all my teachers, logistically, it can be a challenge. That is why it is important to have “Experts” throughout the staff who can help support their colleagues in their departments or near their classroom. Like all things in education, it takes a village.
- Teachers are learners and sometimes we forget that. We get caught up in the “business” of working in education and forget about the art of teaching. If we are going to expect all teachers to be innovative, engaging, and current in their work we need to give them the time to refine their practice. Professional development is one of the first things to go or remain limited in order to save money but, it is a crucial aspect for improving as a practitioner.
Share your experience with professional development or ideas for future trainings in the comments below!