Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Uplifting PD

I left today's pd energized.

Leadership orchestrated a two-part event that included so many positive attributes that during the ride home with colleagues today we couldn't stop sharing new information, ideas and questions--information that will positively send us forth to effect student learning with greater knowledge and skill.

What went right?  From my perspective, these were some of the many attributes that made this a vibrant pd session.
  • It was interdisciplinary. Tech was integrated with content during each presentations.
  • There were many presentations to choose from, and the audience size was small leaving time for questions and discussion.
  • Prior to the event, teachers were surveyed about interests. 
  • The sessions were differentiated so that you could choose a session that "answered your current questions and needs."
  • The sessions were run by teachers and leaders. This was particularly great because we often don't get to hear our colleagues share.
  • The professional development sessions left us with questions--reasons to keep researching and trying out new tools, strategies and processes.
  • Communication was timely so we had time to be prepared for the event and ask questions if needed.
  • The sessions were streamlined--there was not a lot of lecture.  Instead there was lots of time to engage in the tools and processes introduced.
I am thankful for the leaders who made the time to choreograph these sessions so well.

I was also left with some realizations including the following:
  • Ordering processes in school systems will have to change with regard to all the new tools that are now available. It will be best if think carefully about budgets so that we buy the best tools to support student learning.  
  • Dynamic conversation is necessary--we lose dollars and investment when teachers' voices are not included with regard to tools, processes and strategies.  It's essential to grow programs "students-up" starting with students' essential needs, interests and passions, and it's even more important that we begin to discuss learning design and process with intent during our PLCs, parent conferences and student meetings in order to best effect student learning. 
  • We may want to begin to consider family's investment in tools with regard to school dollars spent--have we reached the point where every child should bring a device to school whether the child is in kindergarten or grade 12--today's computer is yesterday's pencil.
  • I hope that leadership will conduct a post survey with regard to this pd session--a post survey will help them to keep this positive momentum going by acknowledging what teachers felt "went right," and correcting the areas where teachers had suggestions for improvement.  Forward movement of this momentum will serve to further energize and motivate staff and students. 
This interdisciplinary, differentiated tech-ed professional development session for elementary school teachers was a leap forward with regard to learning engagement and share.  This two-part event was also evidence that it truly is a "Brave New World" when it comes to education--an exciting "Brave New World" that holds wonderful potential for learners, communities and the world.