I am going to spend a couple days with teachers this week introducing them to Sketchpad, Sketchpad LessonLink and online learning. We are starting a 7-month long hybrid professional development experience designed to provide long-term, sustained learning for integrating technology into math instruction. This means once-a-month get togethers to collaborate and share the experiences and student artifacts of what happened in the classroom as they implement lessons, and then month-long online components designed to continue the collaboration and learning of both the software and instructional strategies. I am excited about starting this, and find myself going over and over all the things I know are needed. The research I have been immersed in lately, as well as my own personal experiences providing professional development for teacher over the past 18 years, has given me much food for thought and experiences I think will go a long way in helping me provide an experience that will support these teachers as they begin their journey of implementing Sketchpad into their instruction.
Lesson One: Begin a professional development experience assessing the background skills of participants.Ensure they are given the necessary tools, starting points, and resources to feel comfortable with what they are going to be doing, see the purpose behind what they will be doing, and know where and how they can get continued support.