Educational leaders are often called upon to plan and facilitate professional development, team meetings, and other events that require engaging the audience in learning and/or collaborating. This provides a wonderful opportunity to show staff various methods of using technology, and place them in the position to feel the effects! Below are a few ways I have used technology:
This free online tool has a variety of applications! During instructional coaching meetings, each coach posts her celebrations to a Padlet. Team members read the celebrations and are invited to ask questions to learn more about the post. At the end of the year, we have a record of where we started, and where we ended up. At a recent meeting for new staff, a Padlet was set up for posting questions. Columns with headers included categories for questions, and participants added their “posts” below the corresponding header. During the meeting answers were added. This provides a place for new staff to refer back to as the information is needed.
Part of my role as an administrator calls for conducting informal observations. At the start of each school year, I create a new Google Doc to record informal observations and provide comment access to staff being evaluated. Sometimes the coaches I evaluate will send me video of their meetings with teachers and request feedback. I link their video to the Google Doc, adding feedback and items to consider. Then, we use the comments feature to communicate. This method provides a record for me and the staff being evaluated to refer back to, and a meaningful way to document growth throughout the year.
Earlier today I facilitated a middle school social studies department meeting where we needed to examine our grade level priority standards and how they vertically align. Accessing a Google Doc for each grade level and accessing another for the vertical 6-8 look allowed for quick and easy collaboration. Staff were able to refer to their grade level doc, edit the 6-8 doc, and include additional information that will inform our upcoming curriculum revision work.
This social media tool helps me to share information and celebrate what I want to see more of for students. I follow other educators and experts in the industry, re-tweeting their helpful ideas and sometimes tagging staff members I know would benefit or are interested. Often times during professional development I tweet out pictures of what participants are doing and learning. By following many of the educators I work with, I am able to see what students are doing and share it with others. It has also been a nice surprise to see how digital connections can morph into human ones- I have been in multiple settings, including a yoga class, where I have met new educators simply because we follow one another on Twitter!
Please share some of the ways you use technology with your staff in the comments below!
Written by: Becky Fischer