Technology is part of my life every day - from the alarm on my phone in the morning, to the music in my car on the drive to school, to the job I do as a technology integration coach. But just having access to all this technology doesn’t mean that I am using it intentionally. To excel in my role, I want to not only model intentional technology integration, I also want to coach the teachers on how to use it effectively as well.
Each year at our school we focus on one area where growth is needed. Next year our focus will be on technology, and I have already been informed that I will be responsible for all the professional development (PD) sessions for the year, delivered in various formats of my choosing - whole staff, divisions, and grade level teams. While I am very excited about this challenge, I want to be sure I am giving the teachers the very best resources and support.
As a result of this tremendous opportunity, I have set 3 goals for my own professional growth over the next year: Become a Google Certified Trainer, Become a Nearpod Certified Educator, and develop a learning platform for curating our school’s professional development sessions, links, etc. These 3 goals are, I admit, quite lofty. But they will be very beneficial to my school and to me personally. I love to learn and be challenged! As I achieve each of these goals, I will be able to lead our teachers well in the year of technology focus ahead.
My first goal has been a desire of mine since the summer of 2020 when I became a Google Level 1 and Level 2 Certified Educator. A Google Certified Trainer leads the way in teaching educators to learn and use the Google for Education tools effectively in their classrooms. While anyone can take the Level 1 and Level 2 tests, to become a trainer, you must apply and be accepted. You must submit evidence of having led 12 coaching and/or training sessions per year. Having technology as our school focus for the 2022-2023 school year will certainly assist me in achieving that goal. Because we are a Google for Education school, I have been gently “nudging” our teachers to learn the use of the Google tools rather than what they are comfortable using (i.e. Microsoft Word, Power Point, etc.), but many have been resistant simply because they do not want to get out of their comfort zone. And, quite honestly, I haven’t had enough time given to show them the tools effectively. Leading professional development sessions on the Google for Education tools will allow me to apply to be a Google Certified Trainer, meeting my first future goal.
My second goal for the near future is to become a Nearpod Certified Educator. I am a huge fan of this tool, as it allows me to easily create engaging, interactive lessons for my students. I use it in my STEM class often (Lower School STEM teacher is my other role). To become a Nearpod Certified Educator, I must lead a minimum of 15 lessons, which I have not yet achieved. Additionally, I want to introduce this amazing edtech tool to our teachers, so I plan to spend many of my grade level PD sessions on Nearpod. I want them to see the value of highly interactive lessons for their students.
My third goal for the coming year is to create a professional learning platform where all our school’s PD sessions can be curated. I want to include links to helpful tools, webinars, upcoming conferences, etc. on the platform as well. But this is only part 1 of this goal. My ultimate goal is to be able to differentiate PD for our teachers by creating a site that allows them to choose their own PD, as well as a way for administrators to add suggested and/or required PD to a teacher’s list.
I am very passionate about personalized PD! We want teachers to differentiate learning for students, yet we often expect them to “sit and get” PD that may not apply to them (think the math teacher who is required to attend the reading PD session). My plan is to begin building this platform as I go next year. Having the opportunity to lead so many PD sessions will go a long way in getting this goal off the ground! The challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the 2022-2023 school year will continue to push me to achieve my goals and to continue to be a lifelong learner!
Eppard, J. (2019, November 28). Integration of Technology in the Classroom. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jLKL2VCZrA
[The word Google]. (n.d.) https://pixabay.com/photos/google-www-search-online-seek-485611/
Chard, C. (2014, April 10). No More Bad Coffee: Professional Development That Honors Teachers. [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiW0s6_83dw
[Words about coaching]. (n.d.) https://pixabay.com/photos/consulting-training-to-learn-2606533/
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This work by Pam Culbreth is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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