Final Reflection

At the beginning of this class I considered myself very competent in delivering effective professional development. However, the section about adult learning was very informative. I learned a great deal about restructuring my professional learning opportunities and plan to do a better job of questioning and listening when coaching the teachers I work with.   My thoughts about the importance in building relationships were validated. The Change Game was a fun interactive way to help me understand that change is a process that takes planning and time. I am still fairly new in my position but I am now more aware that I need to play an active role in helping systemic change occur in my county. My opportunities to coach have increased and have also become more meaningful. I have begun implementation of the plan I developed and hope to have the distance-learning modules in operation this summer.  I have been fortunate to work with supportive school leadership and look forward to continuing to evaluate and implement my professional development plan. I believe this cooperative learning experience will produce positive outcomes in my district.  I plan to share the plan I development with other ITFs in my district and welcome their suggestions and feedback as we work to bring effective technology integration to Burke County.

My group worked well together. Everyone did their share, was flexible, and considerate. I appreciate the fact that we brought different perspectives to our discussions since we work in different grade levels. I feel sure we will continue to be part or each other’s PLN as we move forward in our careers. One major personal benefit of this program is that I am building confidence in myself as a leader. I look forward to implementing the skills I have learned as I grow personally and professionally.

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Professional Learning Communities

My early experience with “PLCs” involved being required to sign up for one of several different groups that were offered.  Groups such as technology and positive based discipline were examples.  I now know these groups were not professional learning communities but instead were just groups.  Of course, I chose the technology group. We met once a month and primarily talked about the latest and greatest apps (Teachers had just received iPads to use.)  We also spent a great deal of our time complaining about student behavior and the additional work load we were being assigned.  I have learned a great deal about what an effect PLC looks like.  I am not an official member of a PLC in the schools I serve and that’s acceptable at this time  since  I have the added responsibilities of still learning my new position and attending grad school. I do hope to become actively involved in an effective PLC either at the district or school level within the next year or so.  When this happen, I will be able to bring the knowledge of how an effective PLC should function and what the focus should be…student learning. I created an infographic (my first!)  synthesizing my understanding of the white paper on PLCs.  PLC infographic

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Professional Development Models

I read about several strategies that I intend to investigate further and implement as I support the teachers in my district.

One strategy that I want to know more about is a video discussion group. I can envision the video including several aspects. I think it would be effective to view videos of teachers speaking about the instructional strategies they use in their classrooms including management, preparation, and the benefits of the strategy.  I also think a portion of the video should include the actual activity in the classroom.  Seeing and hearing effective instruction in action is a powerful tool and observing students engaged in meaningful learning experiences is inspiring.   Teachers often don’t have the opportunity to visit model classrooms in person. This could be a type of flipped professional development in that teachers watch the videos on their own time and come together for discussion or time permitting they could view the video together and discuss. I think the videos should be short and discussions should be authentic with each participate bringing a question, positive comment, or concern before the group.

I found several sites that offered videos for professional development.

Edutopia Videos      Teaching Channel     Edudemic

I would also like to develop and deliver a self-paced distance learning course. Funds are generally not available for substitutes to take over classes while teacher attend full day or multi-day professional development.  Many after school activities often prevent teachers from attending training after school.  Using a learning management system as a method of delivery will help teachers feel comfortable with the digital tools available and hopefully encourage them use a learning management system as they deliver content to their students.  I am thinking about developing my course in Edmodo. Our course has an Edmodo domain, it’s free, and has an easily navigable user interface.

PD using Edmodo  Edmodo PD Webinar

Perhaps I could incorporate the video discussions into the distance learning.

One other professional development strategy that I find intriguing is Ed Camps.  This “unconference” provides opportunities for anyone to present a topic that they are passionate about.

Why EdCamp?   Intro to EdCamp

Reflections on Readings

As I have read and researched, I keep asking myself where I fit into this change process as we work to reinvent our educational goals. I am fairly new to my position as an instructional technology facilitator and am still defining myself as a leader- to myself, my department, and to the staff at the schools I serve. Before I can be a leader in this change process, I need to be confident that I have an understanding of what is necessary for change to occur and be sustainable. I definitely have a lot more to learn. I considered some of my strengths and weaknesses in relation to my personal 4Cs.

Competency:

  • I am competent with technology tools and some of the curriculum expectations in K-5.
  • For the curriculum knowledge I don’t have, I am willing to learn new things. I know how to find information that I need.
  • I have an understanding of the need to use instructional technology effectively.
  • I understand that teachers have different competency levels in relation to effective tech use.
  • I work to be sure lessons I model include rigor, relevancy, and relationship to other content areas.
  • I am still learning my job and have limitations in solving hardware/software issues that occur when modeling lessons or PD.
  • I sometimes lack confidence in my leadership ability.

Culture:

  • I am positive. When teachers say they “hate technology” I don’t take it personally and work to give them positive reasons why effective technology integration is needed for our students.
  • I respect the work that teachers do and have a desire to support them.
  • I don’t like conflict and sometimes “sidestep” issues I see to avoid it. (When I see lessons that have no rigor or relevance.)
  • I am working diligently to build relationships with the staff at the schools I serve.

Conditions:

  • I feel helpless in relation to conditions at the school. Teachers are so busy and giving them more planning time or smaller class sizes is beyond my control. I find myself working hard to not encroach on their planning times and if they don’t show up for afterschool PD opportunities, I make excuses for them even though I see the importance of learning.

Context:

  • I understand that students come from different backgrounds and yet they are all going to the same place: the 21st century workforce.
  • I am willing to work with parents and community members, as well as the staff and students to improve student achievement.

Other reflections:

  • The visuals and case studies that are presented in Change Leadership are very helpful to me in understanding the change process.
  • Culture is so important but is very dependent on conditions.
  • I usually see change “come down” as directives instead of an opportunity for discussion.
  • We gather lots data and do nothing with it.
  • I hear a great deal of talk about “my students.” We need to consider “our students” across the district. I think pay based on test scores has a negative impact and thus creates a competitive nature between teachers instead of one of collaboration.
  • Learning walks are a great idea. I am hoping to get the schools I serve to participate in these at their school and to visit other schools as well.
  • Without trust- change will not happen.  However, trust is something that is earned and evidence is needed to trust and be trusted.
  • The materials display that was mentioned in the Change Game could be a “game changer.” I am planning on getting some information together about effect instructional technology and also include some student work. Hope to make it available to parents/community/students/staff.
  • Almost every meeting I attend is primarily a list of announcements. There is little discussion, collaboration, or problem solving. I can change my PD sessions to make them more interactive and encourage collaborations. I need to ask more questions.
  • Change is a process, a journey- not a destination. When changes occur, whether the impact is positive or negative, constant reevaluation is needed.

S.W.O.T Analysis

elements-of-a-swot-analysis

Internal

                         Strengths                               Weaknesses
1.     1:1 iPads in Second and Third Grade

2.     1:1 MacBooks in Fourth and Fifth Grade

3.     Infrastructure has been updated

4.     Several on site teacher leaders

5.     Principal has a vision for 21 century learning and is involved in DLP-DL

6.     ITF and Media coordinator available to model lessons and support digital learning.  Work collaboratively

7.     ITF and Media Coordinator involved in Digital Learning Coaches Network

8.     Monthly Tech Thursday

9.     PLC structure in place

1.     Many teachers unprepared for digital learning

2.     Technology is often used in ineffective ways

3.     Lack of time for professional development

4.     Lack of interest in professional development

5.     ITF only at school 2 days a week

6.     Media Coordinator semi-fixed schedule

External

                      Opportunities                                Threats
1.     Online PD capabilities (LMS)

2.     Develop and encourage Teacher Leaders to model lessons, provide support, and work collaboratively

3.     Student engagement will help alleviate some behavior issues

4.     Develop student “tech teams” to help with minor tech issues

5.     Visit schools where instructional technology is being used effectively

6.     Extend PLNs

7.     Use data from Friday Institute Survey to further assess digital learning needs

1.     Testing focus across the county

2.     Staff members who “don’t like” technology

3.     Old habits/hard to change

4.     Student behavior issues

5.     Lack of funds for substitutes for training/visits

6.     More devices will require additional demand on instructional tech support to “fix” devices, model lessons, offer 1:1

Goals

  1. Technology will be infused in lessons -not just for the sake of using technology
  2. Effective professional development – to include self-paced opportunities, will be available in various formats
  3. Students will be engaged with learning
  4. Students who are prepared for challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century
  5. Measurable student achievement
  6. PBL (Problem and Passion based learning)

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images from

http://cerasis.com/2013/08/19/elements-of-a-swot-analysis/

http://www.jiscinfonet.ac.uk/tools/pestle-swot/