Many teachers still love the shiny new tool and get excited when we show them a new resource, but over the years we've discovered that this did not move teachers forward in their teaching very often. We also struggled when a tool caught on and then either disappeared or we lost district support for. We got a bit tired of hearing, "Why should we use this if it is gone in a year?"
For district required Tech Tools (Gradebooks, LMS, etc.) we create online tutorials and offer periodic face to face help sessions, but we don't teach the tools. We instead facilitate the use of the tools to support teaching and learning skills.
When we plan Instructional Technology PD we try focus on specific teacher and student skills rather than the tools, with these two foundations:
- We model our PD around learner-centered activities, with this infographic as our foundation: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teachers Who Use Technology. We ask teachers to approach PD and planning with 1 or more of these in mind. We design any pd offerings with 1 or more of these in mind.
- Our second primary goal is to support a shift to learner-centered classrooms where teachers use the 4Cs. We believe that EdTech tools can help a teacher use their course content to help students develop skills connected to Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Here is one of our resources sites connected to this idea: Recharge Learning
Despite our goal to focus on skills, sometimes you still need to have tools in place to help teachers shift to the skills. In the big picture, the two resources that have given us the most leverage to shift our learning: