After finishing the Peer Coaching book (see previous post), it really had me thinking about how I could take that back to my school. The past two years I have tried to run some sort of professional development around technology in my school and personally I feel that it was only somewhat successful. I think I feel this way because I was trying to reach the whole school, but was only getting through to about 8-10 people. I wasn't looking at this 8-10 people as successful in the grand scheme of things.
This book made me realize though that I don't need to hit the entire school. I need to start small and only reach a handful of people and actually focus on helping them throughout the entire year. When it comes to professional development this book mentions that in order for professional development to be effective, "teachers need about 50 hours of professional development to improve in a specific area." (p. 26) However, as teachers we often attend 1-2 day training on a topic and then are expected to soak everything in, turn around and use it in our classrooms. That is what I was expecting from the professional development I was giving.
So here is my plan for this year...
At the beginning of the year I will explain to the staff that I would like to hold professional development around integrating technology again, however, I want them to have a say in what PD they would like. I will ask for those teachers who would like help to fill out a Google Form. This form will not only ask for what specifically they would like help with, but will also get their planning times and whether they would be willing to meet after school. I am hoping to get about 5 people who truly want help integrating technology on a long-term (ie. full school year) basis. The idea would be that we can meet before or after school to look at lesson plans and determine where they can integrate technology into their lessons. Ideally, I would then like to go into their classroom during my planning time to observe or help with the lesson so that I can provide feedback. I would also invite them into my classroom during their planning time so that the teachers can observe my students using technology as well.
This past year we had a technology team with 3 other people. I would love to get them involved as well, seeing as that we all have different areas of strength when it comes to technology. If they are interested as well, then we can each take on the task of "coaching" other teachers and be able to reach more people if the interest is there or they can offer additional assistance to the people that I am already helping out as mentioned above.
Ultimately, if I can get 5 more people at our school extremely comfortable with integrating technology in their own classrooms, then hopefully in future years they can then turn around and help coach others in the school so that eventually everyone in our school is comfortable integrating technology!
Stay tuned this fall and we will see how this goes if my principal is ok with the idea!