Sunday, May 6, 2012

Planning for Hybrid PD (part 6) - Sharing and Collaboration

I am preparing for my final face-to-face meeting with the two cohorts of middle and high school math teachers I have been working with the past 6 months.  We will still have one more online component, which ends in June.
I am a little sad about the fact that our journey is coming to an end, as it has been one of my most rewarding professional development experiences, in large part because I was able to really get to know these teachers both personally and professionally and actually see the progression of change and confidence as they learned and integrated Sketchpad into their mathematics instruction.

A quick recap of the five previous face-to-face lessons, or focus you might say:
Lesson One: Begin professional development experiences assessing background skills of participants.
Lesson Two:  Work on building a sense of community and support among participants, where they feel comfortable sharing their struggles, their experiences, their ideas and expertise.
Lesson Three:  Make the activities and learning relevant to the teachers every-day teaching practice.
Lesson Four: Provide teachers with a choice in what the professional development focuses on.
Lesson Five: Provide suggestions and examples of taking the activities/content of the professional development and modifying (adding to, deleting from, etc.) to meet the diverse needs of their students.
This face-to-face each participant will actually be sharing a Sketchpad lesson they did with their students, focusing on why they picked the lesson, how it addressed both their curriculum and Common Core State Standards (a focus of our hybrid PD), and what they might have done to modify or enhance the lesson to address their students needs. Each person has 10-15 minutes to basically show us what they have learned about both Sketchpad and integrating technology.  As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of nervousness around this, which I have sensed in the online discussion forums.  I find this both humorous and sad. The fact that teachers who face a roomful of middle school and high school students on a daily basis for hours each day are scared and nervous about presenting a 10-15 minute demo for their peers is really funny and unbelievable. But, it's sad that teachers do not feel comfortable to share their teaching expertise with colleagues who will not only learn from it but will also share their own expertise. Perhaps that is a sign of what we don't do right in the teacher profession - share and collaborate as a regular component of continued learning and improvement.

Which brings me to my sixth and final lesson, or focus, for face-to-face professional development:
Lesson Six: Provide the opportunity for sharing, presentation and peer feedback to model the professionalism, collaboration, and support that will be needed to sustain use of PD learning.
Not enough time or opportunity is given to teachers to model for each other and to share and explore new strategies and skills in a collaborative, supportive environment, and it is so crucial to improving practice. Just as our students learn from their peers, so do teachers, and it is important to be able to share and present and get feedback from others in order to make improvements or consider alternatives.

My hope is that these presentations, hard as they may be for a few of the participants, will open the door to the next phase for each of them to become a model of technology integration in their own schools.

For the complete Hybrid PD series, click on the links below:

Planning for Hybrid PD - Comfort Level and Confidence First
Follow-up On Planning for Hybrid PD - Day 1 
Follow-up On Planning for Hybrid PD - Day 2
Hybrid PD - Online Community Development Pt 1 
Planning for Hybrid PD (part 2) - Develop Community and Supportive Environment 
Follow-up On Planning for Hybrid PD (Part 2) - F2F Feedback 
Hybrid PD - Online Community Development Pt. 2 
Planning for Hybrid PD (part 3) - Make it Relevant 
Follow-up On Planning for Hybrid PD (part 3) - F2F feedback 
Hybrid PD - Online Community Development Pt. 3 
Planning for Hybrid PD (part 4) - Teacher Input  
Follow-up On Planning for Hybrid PD (part 4) - F2F Feedback 
Hybrid PD - Online Community Development Pt. 4 - Student Focused!
Planning for Hybrid PD (part 5) - Make the PD Learning Their Own 
Follow-up for Hybrid PD (part 5) - F2F Feedback

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