Re-designing Pro-D

After attending, and running two sessions in Kelowna at #acsiwc I started learning how to design effective Professional Development. Hosting effective ProD is difficult.  With money being at the core of so many difficulties across the educational landscape, it is made more difficult with the combined expense of ProD, planning and design which is crucial for its success. Two key questions helped guide my planning for this ProD:1. What is the goal of Professional Development?
2. What are teachers expectations for ProD?

But whether teachers are collaborating with other teachers, expanding teaching paradigms, integrating subjects, or training on new technological tools, ProD takes money.

My first session titled, blogs, glogs, and other stuff,  was designed to offer teachers hands-on opportunity to learn and build both blogs and glogs, as well as other 2.0 tools for students. In preparing for this session, I felt uneasy in creating a Keynote for an audience I did not know. So I did not prepare a Keynote, and walked into the session a little blindly. I did a few quick polls, and found that 1/3 of them run their own blog, and under half of the attendees had a computer with them. So I was able to adjust and re-evaulate how we were going to spend our time together. I understood the attendees position, that hands-on time, with an “expert” assisting did not feel like a good use of my resources. So I changed my session to go through as many web 2.0 programs that I had spent time on with students. It developed into a useful session, but I also felt very new and that I had a lot to learn.

In reflection at lunch, I decided to re-design my afternoon session on iPads in the Elementary School Classroom to begin with a quick chat in small groups to frame “driving questions” for our session. First I gave a quick introduction to who I am, and my context and experience using a class set of iPads. The response after their quick chat was “please tell us your experience, and share what you feel is valuable.” This statement showed me a few things. First that they trusted me, and second,  that they value my subjective teaching experience.

On breaks, my own most robust professional development was chatting with other presenters and sharing our session lead experiences and stories.

This let me to being to think about new alternatives for Professional Development. With money spent on hardware and wifi, money needs to continue to put into ProD, but ProD needs to be re-design to be maximized for effectiveness. “Useful” ProD for me in on Twitter in a conversation around #ipaded or #edchatbc. Or a conversation with others around a table. But in more of a challenge, I think sharing a conversation with non-likeminded people will help round out teaching philosophy, quality of integration across subjects, and using technology in classrooms.

Earlier this week, I emailed Ted Pennell, who is the Director for Educational Technology in School Distict 61 to propose a Professional Development position on iPads district wide. This position who involve me visiting classrooms around the school district to observe teachers, suggest technology tools and tips, and provide technology leadership for other teachers to break through barriers. Ted Pennell responded by stating that he was going to bring the Director of Learning Initiatives to observe me teaching and to have more of a conversation.

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One thought on “Re-designing Pro-D

  1. Dave, I love hearing your thoughts on Pro-D in terms of stakeholder goals and expectations. I wonder how similar these goals and expectations are between organizers of Pro-D and the participants, or between district admin and key school leaders, or even between staff members in the same school? In any event, it's a great time to be an educator – our current tech tools can help make learning so specific and accessible. Finally, bravo for not being locked into a linear keynote and kudos to you for handing controll of your second session over to your participants in letting them decide what you would present. Amazing. Teaching & public speaking is an art – reading the room and responding in the moment. Well done! Keep it up!

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