Like the classroom, PD has to be engaging. The days of Sit and Get are gone for educators as well. There are so many technology tools out there, that there is no reason why you cannot start using technology to deliver your PD. I am a true believer in blended learning, so that goes for PD as well. We still have face to face meetings, we use coaching and we utilize our online tools. Here are some of my favorite tools that we are currently using.
Taking your PD online - How will you have teachers complete online PD? You need some kind of platform where you can post information and it needs to be interactive. We currently use Schoology. When we first adopted this LMS, we started putting information and assignments for teachers in Schoology. This was one of the best ways for them to learn this new system and it gave them the student's point of view. When you start moving your PD online, having a platform also gives you a place to put resources and other important information. It can become a one stop shop for everyone.
Engagement tools -
What other tools can we use for delivery? Typically when we are doing face to face meetings, we do not use the LMS to present the materials. We usually reference it and that is where we put the resources, but we use Nearpod to deliver presentations. We could use other presentation tools, but with Nearpod we can engage the teachers. We have to remember teachers, like students, are much more engaged if they are interacting. With a tool like Nearpod, you can add activities to your presentations. I even start my presentations with a VR field trip to help them relax as they come in. If you are going over mandatory information or just wanted to add some fun, you could play Kahoot or Quizizz. Anything that can have your staff interact and engage will make a HUGE difference.
Change how you Document Attendance or completion of Mandatory Training-
Almost every school everywhere has mandatory trainings they have to complete. Usually it is a lot of information you have to distribute and you have to have some way to prove everyone has completed it. Why not let technology help you not only record completion but also make it more engaging or fun? For us one of our mandatory trainings is about testing policies. One counselor actually loaded all the material onto our LMS, Schoology, and added a test. The meeting that usually lasts a couple of hours, only lasted 30 minutes and it covered the instructions on how to complete the course. Teachers enjoyed it because they could read themselves, and do it at their own pace. The test made it possible to easily see who had completed the course. It was a great way to document. We did a training on SAMR, that was mandatory. Instead of typical delivery of information, we play a game. When we finished we then went over the information. To document attendance and completion we assigned a Quizizz student paced code and gave a dead line to complete it. Teachers were more engaged and did not resist having to do it.
If you really want to up your PD game, look into Gamifying it. There is a lot of information out there, I recently wrote a blog about it, so this is the quick and fast of it. If you gamify your PD, your engagement increases more than you could imagine.
1. Have a Theme
2. Have a Platform
3. Decide how you are dividing up your faculties into teams
4. Call assignments, challenges
5. Make sure it is fun - the more fun that can be added, the more engagement you will have
6. Make it relevant - if the challenges are just something to do and do not relate back to the classroom, teachers will not see a point. Most of our challenges were something about technology integration in the classroom and they had to submit sample.
7. Come up with some kind of reward.
Final Thoughts -
Your staff is a lot like your students. They need to be engaged. Talking at them and not making it directly relevant are two major factors that decrease participation and effectiveness of PD. Technology is not a fix all for PD, but if used correctly can make a positive impact on what you are doing.