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.