For the few past weeks I’ve been working on developing a technology professional development plan for the upcoming school year. We’ll be starting our Connected Learning Community initiative, which will be the perfect opportunity to embed all sorts of fantastic PD opportunities throughout the year.

Since this is my first time planning and  implementing a 1:1 program from scratch, I am super excited to imagine (and possibly actually do) a very thorough and well integrated PD program. My goal is to make sure that all of the opportunities build upon previous learning, offer new and unique insights from a variety of experts, and allow our teachers to develop their skills at a pace that is both comfortable, achievable and inspiring.

Here’s what I’m thinking so far, in a very general timeline (this is just my proposal, so please share your advice and suggestions, nothing is set in stone):

February 2011: 2 days (combined Curriculum Mapping and Technology): focus on:

  • reverse instruction
  • developing a networked classroom through the use of Learning Hub blogging portal
  • understanding how to mix and match web 2.0 tools
  • authentically embedding technology in an MYP environment

May 2011: 2 days (pull-out PD by department, during regular school days): focus on:

  • practical strategies for the 1:1 classroom
  • tips and tricks with Mac
  • co-teaching and labsites with time for discussion, reflection and curriculum development

September 2011: 2 – 5 days (pull-out PD by department, during regular school days): focus on:

  • building a deeper understanding of the changing classroom environment
  • embedding and modeling digital citizenship
  • introduction to Challenge Based Learning
  • developing and enhancing curriculum to maximize student authorship, creativity, and global connectedness
  • co-teaching and labsites with time for discussion, reflection and curriculum development

September – October 2011: YIS CoETaIL Cohort Course 1 (also open to teachers outside of YIS):

Information Literacy and Ourselves as Learners: A foundation course, introducing learners to the methods of information literacy in the 21st century. Independent learning requires that students and teachers are able to evaluate the authenticity, relevance and bias of information that inundates us. Tools and strategies for teachers and students for accessing, filtering, evaluating and applying information will be addressed. This course will address meta-cognition and an awareness of how we learn in a digital landscape. Students will be provided with strategies for reflective practice and using prior knowledge to build understanding and deal with new technology will be incorporated in the course.

September 2011: Learning 2.012, Shanghai

October 2011: EARCOS Weekend Workshop (part of CoETaIL Course 1, also open to teachers outside of YIS): focus on:

  • building a Personal Learning Network
  • implementing connected learning in the classroom
  • developing a technology toolkit

October 2011: K12Online 2011: LAN Parties

November 2011: Bridging the Gap, annual YIS conference

November 2011: Global Education Conference: LAN Parties

November – December 2011: YIS CoETaIL Cohort, Course 2:

21st Century Literacy Ideas, Questions, and Issues: The 21st Century learner had been bombarded with new technology, access to wide ranging global communication, and a plethora of information.  Accompanying this new world of learning are ethical, moral, social, and emotional considerations that are changing the way in which our students are interfacing with the world. This course will explore current issues inherent in our technological world.

February – March 2012: YIS CoETaIL Cohort, Course 3:

Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators: The curriculum of design and attention to aesthetic has always been the property of the visual arts, however as so much our media is now consumed and created electronically a new set of visual literacies have emerged.  Awareness of how an audience interacts with that medium and how to take advantage of this to strengthen their message or purpose for communication will be addressed.

February 2012: 21st Century Learning Conference, Hong Kong

February 2012: ASB Un-Plugged, India

February 2012: EARCOS Weekend Workshop: (part of CoETaIL Course 3, also open to teachers outside of YIS) focus on:

  • understanding visual literacy
  • effective use of images and imagery in the classroom
  • digital storytelling

April 2012: 2 -5 days (pull-out PD by department, during regular school days): focus on:

  • maximizing the potential of our CLC program
  • continue developing Challenge Based Learning strategies
  • co-teaching and labsites with time for discussion, reflection and curriculum development

April – May 2012: YIS CoETaIL Cohort, Course 4:

Technology: A Catalyst for Learning: Research based best practice for the embedded use of technology for learning will be shared and practiced. The focus will be on the habits that provide students with the ability to use technology for its greatest learning advantage. The best use of laptop computers, Smart boards, etc will be addressed as embedded tools to foster optimum learning of the curriculum.  The optimal use of communication tools such as pod casts, blogs, nings, wikis, and voice threads will be addressed with tips for management and strategies to promote maximum learning in classrooms.

September – October 2012: YIS CoETaIL Cohort, Course 5:

Alive in the Classroom: Applied Web 2.0 Technology for Learning: The course will be about the classroom application, and reflection on the use of web 2.0 technology in the classroom. Participants will be asked to create a plan for the embedded use of technology to foster learning, share with the group and offer feedback on their cohorts’ embedded use of technology for learning. Did the use of technology lead to deeper learning?

Final Thoughts

This is just a first draft overview of what I’ve been thinking about. One thing I’ve noticed in every school I’ve worked at is that PD (especially technology related PD for some reason) is often thrown together at the last minute, filling an empty space in a schedule, or responding to requests from teachers, rather than being thoughtfully planned in advance. Maybe this is because needs are always changing (and maybe I’ll learn the hard way that I shouldn’t try to plan everything out), but I feel like there are so many opportunities for learning (both inside and outside of our direct school environment) that at least we could make an effort to bring them all together into one cohesive plan. Not only will this (hopefully) give us more focus for what we do during PD days, but it will also give teachers an opportunity to plan their personal PD budgets for the year.

Therefore, most of the items listed on this plan are not whole-school (or mandatory) events, instead they are opportunities relevant to our current school environment that teachers (and possibly) parents can take advantage of throughout the year. Most importantly, I wanted to make sure our school community is aware of the variety of ways in which they can learn over the course of the year, taking into consideration local, regional and global events in face to face settings and online. I hope that teachers from other school around the Tokyo area are also able to participate, especially in our new CoETaIL cohort and some of the LAN parties for the global online conferences.

When I look at this plan as a whole, I feel that we’re meeting many of the ISTE NETs Standards for Teachers, specifically standard 2.a, 3.b, 3.c,  4.a, 4.c, and 5.a. Next year will also most likely be the first year we adapt and integrate technology standards throughout the school, so I would like to make sure that we also bring that focus to our teacher PD.

I’m also hoping that we can also bring a variety of experts into YIS for many of these events, both face to face and virtually. The more voices sharing the same message, the more powerful it becomes.

Along with all these teacher PD, we’re also building our parent PD, planning for student leaders and working developing an effective and practical digital citizenship curriculum which can be embedded into the core subject areas. (More to come on those later).

So, that’s the plan. What do you think? What am I missing? Advice? Suggestions?