Thursday, March 10, 2016

Focus on the Content to Teach Essential Skills - #EdTech PD

Many educators get excited about the latest and greatest shiny new EdTech tool, but over the years we've discovered that this does not always move teachers forward in their teaching. Many teachers also struggle when a tool they fell in love with either disappeared or was no longer free. Too often the phrase, "Why should we use this if it is gone in a year?" was heard. 

We've begun to steer our Profesional Development away from the tools first. For district required Tech Tools (Gradebooks, LMS, etc.) we do create online tutorials and offer periodic face to face help sessions. 

We plan professional development with the idea that we want to model a student-centered learning environment. Instructional Technology PD focuses 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
In the big picture, the two resources that have given us the most leverage to shift our teaching and learning with EdTech are GAFE and Digital Assessment Tools: