Sunday, December 11, 2011

Planning for Hybrid PD - Comfort Level and Confidence First

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.

For our kick-off meetings this week, I want to really focus on helping these teachers feel comfortable in the learning environment we are about to start. I think that is the most important thing as we begin our journey.  There are time constraints that don't make the first face-to-face ideal, so how do I work around that and make sure everyone leaves with the confidence they need to start their first month of online learning?  They are new to everything - not only the software, but the online learning environment, so the focus in our first face-to-face is to really make sure they feel comfortable with how to get in the online course, access the online resources, and know how to start with the software.  Quite a bit to accomplish in a three hour meeting!  But...if they can leave feeling that they know how to begin, where to get the resources and access everything, then I think we can spend our first month actually learning.  If they leave feeling overwhelmed by the technology and access components, the learning of the software and strategies will become secondary or frustrating.

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.


Jim Tiffin Jr said...

As always Karen, great insights into the needs of the adult learner. In this case, making sure they are comfortable and secure in their tech skills so they can focus on what it means to learn (not just teach) with Sketchpad.

And your pre-assessment of your students' skills models best instructional practice for them. Something for them to remember as they bring this tool to their classroom, since it sometimes gets overlooked in the introduction of EdTech.

These teacher-learners are in very capable hands. Looking forward to reading more about your Hybrid PD adventures!

Karen Greenhaus said...

Thanks for the boost of confidence! Guess I will know on a continuing basis if what I think will work IS working. Think that's why I am excited about this long-term, blended opportunity - being able to take their feedback and reactions on a continuous basis and adjust. Don't often get that in PD experiences.