This coming Friday, October 8th, our district will be holding a staff development day focuesd on technology. It is going to be an exciting day, as there are many events planned. A quick overview:

  • Keynote by the ever-inspiring Alan November
  • Content-area breakout session (focused on instruction that incorporates technology)
  • Elective breakout session (focused on a technology tool)
  • Student Showcase

This is no small undertaking with a staff of over 1000 who will be in attendance. Figuring out how to effectively feed that many people is a job unto itself. District and school staff have been working countless hours for over a year to plan for this day. We have a few talented outside presenters coming in, but other than that, all presentations are begin done by our own staff.

Why, you may wonder, would we…

  • Coordinate the movement of 1000 staff and 100 students for 7 hours between 2 buildings (that thankfully are on the same campus)?
  • Take a perfectly normal gymnasium and supply it with enough computers,  power, and networking for over 100 students in 25 different booths?
  • Install and reinstall software in computer labs to accommodate different technology tool sessions?
  • Ask expert teachers who are mostly used to working wtih 20-30 of their own students to share their expertise with 100-200 of their colleagues?
  • Ask students, who would otherwise have a day off, to come in and share how they use technology?
  • Ask our custodial and IT staff to essentially transform the 2 buildings to a conference format beginning at 2:00 the day before?
  • Make sure that every professional assignment, from core subjects to paraprofessionals, has a session devoted to technology which applies to them?
  • Offer technology tools sessions that span the gamut of available resources?

The answer, in a word: momentum.

We have a lot to gain by taking a day to show off what we have, what our own teachers and students do, and provide some insight into where we want to go.

Here are a few more questions:

  • Will there be enough time to learn everything about a technology tool during this day? No – but there will be time to get one’s feet wet, and our professional development catalog has follow-up courses to support those interested.
  • Will teachers be exposed to current technology integration practices by their colleagues in other classrooms? You bet – that is the idea behind the content sessions.
  • Will new ideas and thought-provoking conversation be cultivated? Yes – Alan November is a master at this.
  • Will we celebrate what our students are doing? This may be one of the favorite parts of the day – our students will show off how they are using technology.

A lot of great learning and sharing will take place on this day. I think the main spark of the day will be to cause great momentum in the use of technology in the classroom. It’s going to be a great day.

Update 10/12/2010: I wrote this post a week prior to the event.  Since the day is now over, I have asked staff to comment with their reflections.

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7 responses to “Momentum”

  1. randy rogers Avatar
    randy rogers

    Hi Mike…just responding to you regarding Staff Dev this past Friday…it was GREAT!! Alan November was fantastic!! I have never seen 2 hours go faster and was disappointed when it ended…he had so many great ideas and such creative ways to help kids get even more excited about learning…these are digital age kids and we need to change the ways we do things! Also, I was with the school psychs for a session on Excel with Nancy Wilhelm…such a wonderful teacher who makes it seem so simple! My last session was Digital Storytelling using Photo Story 3…neat stuff, but we didn’t have enough time to try using the program…all in all, it was a wonderful way to spend the day and I learned a lot!! Thanks to you and all of your counterparts for the hard work that went into making this one of the best staff development days that I have experienced, since becoming a team member in Williamsville some 24 years ago!!


  2. Andy Gewurz Avatar
    Andy Gewurz

    I thought the day went well. Definitely didn’t need one full hour to walk around the gym and check out student projects. Will speak to you about a project I thought would be interesting using Google Earth.

  3. Rene' Avatar

    First and foremost…Thank you!
    This workshop was put together very well!
    Mr. Alan November was an excellent speaker and very informative to the subject matter! His hindsight to the web…hopefully opened a lot of eyes to what is really out there for our students! The learning that happens outside of the classroom is…Substantial!

    I was able to take a lot from this workshop…from the keynote to the one on one with the students it was excellent!
    Nothing gets me more motivated than a workshop to this magnitude!
    What an excellent/unique way to a Superintendents Conference.

    Thanks again!

  4. Sue Calandra Avatar
    Sue Calandra

    I thought the day went very well. The student showcase was great- I loved seeing the kids as experts! One thing that was a bit disappointing for me was the breakout session, only because it was not hands-on. I chose a workshop on Photostory, and although the presenter was very well prepared, it was a presentation, not an opportunity for us to try out the program on computers. I certainly understand, however, that there simply weren’t enough computers for everyone to be on at once. Other than that, I thought it was great, and I appreciate all the efforts of those who worked hard to pull it all together!

  5. Sue Merlino Avatar
    Sue Merlino

    I loved the keynote speaker. It validated what I am trying to do with my wiki, having students have each other as an audience. If I can get my friend in Alaska to have her students present to mine and vice versa, that ties into what Allen November said even more. The afternoon session on Google advance search was very helpful to me! Thanks to you for all your support and help!

  6. Roy Clare Avatar
    Roy Clare

    A great conference day; I learned much and was, again,
    very motivated to learn more. Suggestion: have the key-note speaker available for a follow-up session at which questions re the presentation could be asked. I wanted to know some specifics re his research. Great day!

  7. Lisa Abbott Avatar
    Lisa Abbott

    Thank you for a great day! I took away some super ideas from Alan November. I spoke to some of my students about getting immediate feedback versus waiting to get papers back. I have planned to use Google Docs with our next writing experience to shorten feedback time.

    It was great seeing all the involvement of students with technology during the showcase time.

    Lastly, I enjoyed the Photostory worksession and look forward to using it with our Medieval project this school year.