Home Grown Staff Development

Isabelphoebe, Home Grown Vegetables, June 27, 2009, online image, http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabelphoebe/3686645465/

The Set-Up
This past summer the teachers at PCHS was given the opportunity to partake in various technology centered staff development opportunities. Meg Ormiston came to Paris (something she brags about for some reason…)and spent five wonderful days showing the staff a lot of web 2.0 tools, and best of all she gave them time to talk about them, work with them, and figure out how to integrate them into classes. We also we able to invite Nancy Brachbill and Shannon Smith of RecessTek to come to PCHS for four days right before school started. They helped teachers learn how to make their interactive white boards come alive (at the high school level…even!) as well as shared their expertise on using web based tools to enhance classroom instruction and bolster student learning and achievement.

So Why a Smackdown?
Our cooperative school begins each year with several half-day inservices and I wanted to be able to showcase what our teachers had learned to do. I had heard about various technology smackdowns taking place at various conferences, and even though I had never been to one, I thought I would try to create one using the expertise of our teachers. I created a Google Form to sign up.  I was pleased to have 15 (or about 40% of the teachers sign up!)  I set one afternoon aside for them to do their demonstrations.  The staff seemed to be very engaged, infact, several teachers started a backchannel on twitter to discuss what was going on.  As we approached the end of the time allowed, about five teachers had not had the chance to present yet.  I agreed to let them extend the “smackdown” into the next day.  The following day when we were finished, we released staff to go and visit the presenters to talk about items of interest in more depth.  In my opinion, a very useful two days!  I am collecting the opinion of my staff and you can see the results here.

7 Comments

  1. Whitney said:

    I am a huge fan of home grown professional development. I love the idea of a “smackdown”.

    We are implementing another idea one of my teachers heard about (wish I could give the person credit, but I know the teacher has passed on thanks), called Tech In 20. We are going to have 20 minute professional development demonstrations every Thursday. Topics might include Email Etiquette, Word, Excel, and other basic “skills” to help build confidence of the teachers. Then, we’re going to get into Web 2.0 tools — digital recordings, storytelling, web pages, blogs, twitter…. I could go on but you get the idea.

    I also try to have staff meetings be of a professional development nature: invite teachers to facilitate, share a success or a lesson learned, discuss books that were on our summer reading list… etc. If there is time we get to nuts-n-bolts items, but we save those for the end.

    Thanks for the idea! Love it!!

    August 29, 2010
    Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      Paula,

      Thanks for sharing your ideas. The tech in twenty Tuesday is great! Between recording sessions and making screencasts, teachers (and admin by the way) can share their ideas and use of tech for “just in time” learning for teachers with so little time for professional development. Thanks for the comment!

      August 29, 2010
      Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      Whitney,

      Thanks for sharing your ideas. I think professionals feel more appreciated when they are allowed share their expertise. We get to see each other in a different way and learn to appreciate the talents we can all share. Thanks for the comment!

      August 29, 2010
      Reply
  2. We have been doing home grown staff development at my school for the last two years. We conducted a survey to see what the teachers wanted to learn more about and then we found staff members who were willing to conduct sessions. The day was set up as breakout sessions and everyone was required to attend four sessions (not all were technology). The feedback was very positive. I am a fourth grade teacher and my sessions have been technology based – eBoard, Skype, Blogger, Promethean board etc. By doing the breakout sessions we are differentiating our PD. Each session is 45 minutes long as some of the day requires that we are all in a whole group session.

    This year I am going to try and record my sessions so that teachers who can not attend can access my presentations. I also put all of my materials onto a Google site because I don’t give them handouts, but they can print them from the site if they really must have a handout. On the site they can see videos and lessons that show how to integrate the tool into their classes.

    I love how you used a Google form to gather your evaluations for the day.

    August 29, 2010
    Reply
  3. Lyn said:

    Hi, Dave,
    Last week a few of our teachers ran some sessions at an in-service day, and we had such a positive response! I loved watching them facilitate learning for their peers! Can’t wait to try it again!

    August 31, 2010
    Reply
    • Dave Meister said:

      Lyn,

      It just seems so much more meaningful when the staff shares with one another…the expert stays in house and is always available for follow up. Thanks for the comment. Have a great year!

      August 31, 2010
      Reply
  4. […] spending 6 hours of the day leading professional development sessions in which teachers have little ownership. (Let them lead the […]

    November 18, 2010
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