If Professional Development doesn't change what happens in the classroom for students, take it personally. Then take action. Are you a principal or leader who is caught in the cycle of Stand and Deliver Professional Development? Are you still bringing in trainers but not seeing changes in how students are instructed? Are you still having staff meetings?
Are you ready to change this? I hope you are because your technology leadership matters. If teachers don’t see you using the same tool you are asking them to use with students, then the opportunities for students remain the same, stagnant.
Teachers enter Professional Development with this mindset, “exhausted”. Exhausted from a day of teaching and they are presented with so called Professional Development, which usually looks like someone at the front of the room talking to teachers, who are “compliant'. Teachers know how to do school.
Teachers are thinking, "I need to review the kids math from today, I need to email parents about the upcoming field trip. I need to talk to my team leader about peer observation. I need to get home, get dinner, get to another meeting, workout?....." I know teachers feels this, as evidenced by all the hilarious staff meeting memes. Let’s just say I get it!
We know as educators how the technologies we use in our daily lives influence us. Students have changed, leaders have not kept pace. Learning tools have evolved and yet we deliver the same professional development to exhausted teachers and expect new results. Wasn’t there something about,”You keep doing what you’ve always done and you’ll keep getting the results you’ve always gotten?”
I'd like to share with you 3 tools that can help flip and blend your professional learning opportunities and maybe create classroom transfer. Try and commit to sending no staff emails for a week and incorporate these three tools instead: Google Classroom, G+ communities and Remind. Google classroom allows you to assign a video, professional article and have teachers weigh in on an issue. Google Classroom is also archivable and reuseable. Google+ Community also allows for collections of great resources all in one place. No more scrolling and searching old emails. Articles you and teachers find can be shared all in one location and they can be filtered. Another great tool is REMIND. I use this texting feature with teachers and let them know about an event and also for reminders. It is a free one-way texting service. Since I started using it, most of my teachers use it to communicate with parents.
My hope is Professional Development should be a mirror of what we hope for students; not be a reflection of the past. Our time together should stem out of the adult need of the 4 C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking), not because it’s Monday. Let’s communicate in alternative ways, collaborate through technology all the while using creative thinking to create the best staff environment that values time for all staff members.
The amazing Sylvia Duckworth gave us this wonderful sketchnote of “think- abouts” for 2017. I have taken this idea and built upon it for the connected leader. How can we use this idea to build ourselves as connected leaders?
As we enter 2017 here are my think abouts for this year. Each of the numbers in 2017 relates to a topic to think about. Several things I think I do well as a connected leader are helping build teachers’ Professional Networks and creating new content. I also model and learn new technologies, such as HyperDocs, sites and shared resources. What two things has 2016 taught you that will move you forward in 2017? Figure out the things you are doing well and give yourself credit and a pat on the back!
The thing I need to stop doing is expecting teachers to understand technology integration the first few times they are exposed to it. Teachers need time to decide on the best tools for their class and how to choose and manage them. What do you need to stop doing?
The person I plan to improve my relationship with is a person who needs to become a connected educator. I plan to gently share tips and trick that can streamline their work. I hope they will not even notice. Who can you reach out to and support?
Now comes the tough part of this think about: what are seven things to explore in the New Year? For me I need to better understand Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and how these can be used in the classroom to give students a greater depth of understanding.
Here are seven ideas to consider for the connected leader to consider:
"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”