Staff Development Focus for Next Year

Thanks to the staff who responded to the brief survey I sent out (it was easy & slick to do using a Google form 🙂 ). While response wasn’t huge (25%), it is the end of the year and there are a million things to get done. I think the sample is big enough to get a good sense of how to progress. So what are people interested in focusing on? Check it out…

sdfeedbackI selected the topics for the survey based on things I’ve been working with and ideas “out there” in the world of educational technology. No scientific formula – lots of gut instinct and intuition, spiced with as much input as possible.

Based on the feedback, here is the prioritized focus of how I’ll frame conversations with the technology committee and team meetings for 2009-2010:

  1. Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works – I think people enjoyed the book study here this past year on Point A to Point B because the focus is on improved learning with technology, not just about the technology. I’m looking forward to some fun and challenging conversations on implementing ideas from the book.
  2. Google Tools in the Classroom – Google continues to produce a wealth of resources for learning. While a little voice in my head continues to worry about Google controlling too much (see my kind-of-paranoid post from 2007), you can’t argue that there are some amazing resources (see my posts after attending a BOCES workshop here, here and here).
  3. Google Earth – Speaking of amazing resources, Google Earth is going to be where I spend most of my personal learning time. Every time I open up GE, some new layer, model, or other content blows me away. The experience we had in Mrs. Calandra’s ELA class with the Google Lit Trip is just one example of the power of Google Earth. I’m in the early stages of developing some sort of GE daily tidbit for the classroom – stay tuned on this one. On a personal soapbox note, as I delve into GE more and more, a thought keeps coming to me (and I am by no means the first to say this): Given the resources available in Google Earth, there is no acceptable reason for students to be deficient in geography (provided students and teachers have quality access to Google Earth). OK, that’s the end of my soapbox – let’s dig in with Google Earth!
  4. Wikis – While the response to wikis was not great, I believe part of that is due to the fact that many still need to understand what a wiki is and how it can be implemented in the classroom (though we’ve all used Wikipedia…) . The district has moved us forward in this realm as we have just purchased a wiki site through Wikispaces.

That is certainly enough to keep us busy, but at the same time, one person brought up an excellent point. It’s not always about what’s new and what’s hot – it’s about getting better – here is the comment:

“I know we have training in many areas, however, I feel like I need more to get all the use out of a particular tool. Something like getting more training after a year of having a Smart Board to go to the next level. That may even carry on for a couple of years. Just a thought (and not only Smart Board use other things as well).”

That was well put, and will be part of the mix of what we do in the upcoming year. Once again, thanks to everyone who responded, and have an enjoyable summer!