Effective Professional Development – A Call to Action

 The Story Behind the Story

Duarte says that presentations can be more effective when we tell a story. My story is about teachers, and therefore about students. As an instructional coach, teachers are my focus. I help with specific classroom and instructional issues, spend time planning lessons, and provide professional development to the teachers at my school and in my district.
The professional development that I provide includes one-time meetings of various lengths and multiple-session courses, and can be book studies, workshops, or a lecture format. I believe there need to be some changes made to the PD in our district.

“Professional development can no longer just be about exposing teachers to a concept or providing basic knowledge about a teaching methodology. Instead, professional development in an era of accountability requires a change in a teacher’s practice that leads to increases in student learning.” (Gulamhussein, 2013)

The type of PD that I am suggesting is quite different, and I hope will be well received by teachers and administrators. The course will be about using blended learning in the classroom. It will be ongoing, possibly throughout a semester or even a whole school year. I will provide support for teachers as they work to implement blended learning in their classrooms. We will jump right in and use a blended learning format for the course, so teachers have a model to guide them. This will be a training geared toward any teacher in my K-5 school, and can be focused on specific grades and content as needed.
I feel excited to be an instructional coach in a time when PD is changing. I look forward to supporting teachers as they learn new things and work implement them in their classrooms to improve their instruction.
My video is geared toward the administration at my school. I want them to see that we can provide effective PD at my campus, and that there are coaches there to help!

The Making of the Story

To make my video I tried a program called Kizoa. I had never used this program before, but the format was easy to understand and user friendly. It uses a drag and drop format, and includes transitions, music, effects, and a variety of colors and backgrounds.
It was difficult to design the pieces of the video exactly how I wanted them, so I decided to create slides in Google Slides and use the snipping tool to save them and upload them to Kizoa. I found pictures in Google Images, making sure that they were labeled for reuse, and found a font that was bold and thick, so that it would stand out. In Kizoa I was easily able to add music and transitions to my video. I am happy with the final product!

References

Duarte, N. (2013). Resonate: Present visual stories that transform audiences. John Wiley & Sons. An online media version of Resonate can be accessed for free at http://resonate.duarte.com/#!page0

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the Teachers Effective Professional Development in an Era of High Stakes Accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Staffingstudents/Teaching-the-Teachers-Effective-Professional-Development-in-an-Era-of-High-Stakes-Accountability/Teaching-the-Teachers-Full-Report.pdf

Reflection of Online Learning

My students are the teachers at my school. My job is to create learning opportunities for them throughout the year, including face to face professional development, model lessons, and discussions about lesson plans and student learning. With my innovation plan, I hope to add the dimension of online learning into my school and my district. Online learning gives students opportunities to learn at their own pace in the comfort of their own home. I want teachers to incorporate blended learning into their classrooms, and the only way they’ll feel confident enough to try is if they understand and appreciate it. I need to build buy-in, and telling teachers how wonderful blended learning is and how it fits in well with our district’s philosophy of learning will not achieve buy-in. My course involves videos and articles to read that will help teachers construct their own ideas about blended learning and how it can fit into their current schedule. Through my three-column table I aligned the pieces of my course, and now have a format in which my students can learn about creating a significant learning environment in their classroom and implementing blended learning.

I appreciate that I now have experience creating an online course, and I hope to apply my learning to more courses that I teach throughout the year. The most important thing for me to keep in mind is to allow students to create their own understanding. This is the only way for them to own their learning and accomplish the goals set forth in the course.

Online Course Completion

As I create my Blended Learning class on Schoology, I’m excited to begin developing more online learning opportunities for teachers in my district. There are many professional development courses that I teach throughout the year and during the summer. The first couple that I would like to turn into blended learning courses are Effort Effect: Mindsets in the Math Classroom and a books study of Count Me In!.

In Effort Effect: Mindsets in the Math Classroom, I enjoy showing teachers videos of famous people throughout history who learned by making mistakes and continuing to practice. There are some card sorts that we do in the training that I think would be fun to turn into online sorts through Padlet or another app. We also try activities that are intentionally difficult for teachers, to remind them what it’s like to struggle in school. These activities might be best to do in a face-to-face setting, so a blended learning format would be better for this class than a completely online setting.

This school year I facilitated a book study of Count Me In! about the importance of including all students in math activities and discussions in the classroom. The teachers who participated, mostly special education teachers, enjoyed reading the book and discussing the applications to their own classrooms. I think a lot of the discussion could be online or in a Google Hangout just as easily as in person. We also watched some videos that emphasized the importance of math that is accessible to all students, which could easily be watched independently. It would be very important to have a discussion forum that is easy to navigate for this course, as the teachers would most likely want to use it a lot!

There are other courses that I’ve dreamed of creating and teaching that would lend themselves to an online or blended format. I’m glad to have the experience with Schoology to help me create courses in the future.

Online Course update

My online course is now well underway! I’ve really enjoyed using Schoology. It’s a very simple, straightforward platform, but so far has been able to do anything I’ve wanted it to. In addition to my course sessions, I’ve added the course outline, a general discussion board, and an album for students to upload photos of blended learning in action. I also learned how to embed my videos into the course instead of just linking them. Things are coming along, and I’m feeling very proud of my course!

Course Outline – Blended Learning

I have a whole new appreciation for those who create and facilitate online learning courses. Pulling together articles, blogs, and videos that you want your students to view and finding the right order to put them in takes a lot of thought! I’m still working to arrange things exactly how I think they would be most impactful, but here is the basic outline of my Blended Learning course in Schoology.

Course Outline – Blended Learning

Session 1 – What is Blended Learning?

  • Watch videos and read articles –
    • A video interview with Michael Horn and Heather Staker, the authors ofBlended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools.
    • Explore the information on the Christianson Institution website. There are some great videos and blog posts.
    • Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud
  • Participate in group discussion –
    • What aspects of blended learning do you already use? What are you most excited to try in your classroom?
  • Assignment –
    • Reflect on what you’re already doing and what you hope to do to incorporate blended learning in your classroom.

Session 2 – What platforms can I use to implement Blended Learning?

  • Watch videos and read articles –
    • Digital Learning Now! Blended Learning Implementation Guide
    • Blended Learning and the Future of Education: Monique Markoffat Tedxlthaca College
  • Participate in group discussion –
    • What are some online learning platforms you have heard of or tried?
  • Assignment –
    • Try/research a variety of platforms that might work for Blended Learning in your classroom. Reflect on what you like and/or don’t like and why.

Session 3 – What’s my WHY?

  • Watch videos and read articles –
    • Simon Sinek’s Start With Why – How great leaders inspire action
    • ICOM Productions: What we know
  • Participate in group discussion –
    • What’s your why?
  • Assignment –
    • Reflect on WHY you do what you do and how blended learning can support your instruction.

Session 4 – A sense of urgency

  • Watch videos and read articles –
    • Sir Ken Robinson’s Bring on the Learning Revolution!
    • Progressive Education in the 1940s
    • Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a “Now-ist”
  • Participate in group discussion –
    • Why is it important for our education system to change?
  • Assignment –
    • Reflect on the urgency of changing our education system and what you can do in your classroom to move things forward.

Session 5 – How is it going?

  • Watch videos and read articles –
    • A New Culture of Learning
    • What 60 Schools Can Tell Us About Teaching 21st Century Skills: Grant Lichtman
  • Participate in group discussion –
    • How have your lessons improved with the addition of blended learning?
  • Assignment
    • Take time to visit a colleague to see what blended learning looks like in their classroom. Have at least one colleague visit your classroom to see blended learning in action.

Online Course Instructional Design

Introduction: In this online course, teachers at my school will read and view information about the importance of creating significant learning environments in their classrooms and incorporating blended learning to engage their students. The teachers will work together online and in person to support each other through the process of incorporating blended learning elements into their lessons. Although I have not participated in a blended learning course myself, I believe that there are benefits for learners, including the ongoing support of classmates and instructors.

Learning Goals: Participants will understand and create significant learning environments in their classrooms and incorporate blended learning to engage their students.

Desired Results: Learners will establish a significant learning environment in their classroom and create blended learning lessons after participating in this online course.

Audience: classroom teachers at my elementary campus

Outline:

  • Learners will identify the key aspects of a significant learning environment.
  • Learners will analyze and evaluate the various blended learning models.
  • Learners will apply their knowledge of blended learning to design a lesson or unit for their class that includes blended learning experiences.
  • Learners will explain how their lesson or unit is improved by the use of blended learning.
  • Learners will observe the benefits of a blended learning classroom.
  • Learners will revise lesson plans to include blended learning opportunities.

Materials: videos, articles, and blog posts related to blended learning for participants to view

Action Research Plan

 

Outline

           

           

           

Topic of Research

The ultimate goal of my innovation plan is to have teachers across my campus fully integrating technology into their daily lessons through a blended learning model. In order for teachers to fully understand what it is I’ll be asking them to do, I believe that they will need to experience blended learning themselves. I will use this format to teach them about how they can structure their classrooms and why they should incorporate technology at such a high level.

Purpose of Study

Many traditional teaching methods are no longer valuable for today’s students. Today’s teachers need to embrace technology and use it to enhance the learning in their classrooms.

Research Questions

How might a blended learning professional development experience impact teachers’ attitudes toward implementing blended learning in their own classrooms?

How many teachers of those that participated in a blended learning professional development experience will implement blended learning in their classrooms?

Research Design

  • Triangulation Mixed-Methods design using both Qualitative and Quantitative data.
  • Descriptive Research using observations.
  • Case studies of the teachers who participate in the professional development experience, including the use of surveys and interviews.

Implementation Timeline

 

Provide Blended Learning professional development to teachers on my campus in a blended learning format. June – August 2017
Collect and analyze the data. Observe teachers as they begin to implement Blended Learning in their classrooms.

Develop the action plan.

August – November 2017
Share and communicate results November – December 2017
Reflect on the process. December 2017
Provide additional training to teachers who would like to implement Blended Learning in their classroom for the second semester. December 2017 – January 2018

Literature Review

Blended Learning Professional Development

In all of my posts about my Innovation Plan, I mention that I want to see teachers using a Blended Learning model in their classrooms, but I have yet to address how I will teach them how to do this. Through Action Research I hope to find the most effective way to explain Blended Learning to the teachers on my campus, in a blended learning professional development format.

action-research

Click the link above to see an outline of my current Action Research Plan.

 

A Plan to Implement My Innovation Plan

Change is hard, and I will soon be asking teachers to make a change that I believe will be important. There will be resistance from the administration at my school, and probably from some of the teachers. I will need to be sure that everyone involved is as knowledgeable about my ideas and research as possible. In order to lessen their resistance to change, I will need to use a variety of strategies.

First, I will focus on my WHY. It is similar to the WHY of most teachers, and gets to the heart of why many teachers go into the profession.

Next, I will work on implementing all of the six strategies of being an Influencer so that I can lead my campus to success. Using skills from the 4DX model will also help me during implementation.

As I progress in the rollout of my Innovation Plan, I will need to have some Crucial Conversations. I will need to work to remember the skills that I’ve learned in order to stay calm and focus on dialogue.

With all of these measures in place, I believe that I can assist and encourage the teachers at my school to implement an instructional strategy that will produce results in the students that we teach.