As we work with students more and more we realize that the "sit and get" model is not the most effective way to reach this generation. Students need to be a part of their learning experience. The are so used to immediate responses that lecturing and testing may not reach a good portion of school-age children. So if we are changing the model of the classroom, why wouldn't we re-evaluate how we are doing PD? Now I have been to some really great trainings where I just listened to a speaker and got a lot out of it, but unless I chose the topic to listen to, more times than not I am in my world after about 15 minutes. My district tried the "watch videos" model and it could have been how it was rolled out but for about 95% of the teachers in the district it was an epic fail. Now I did get some good ideas from what I saw, but the format was all wrong for how we, as a district, were using it.
This year I help roll out online PD in our district. We made short lessons that included videos and assignments. Now the assignments were not difficult and it was usually to produce a product that the teachers would use. On many of the courses we gave a face-to-face introduction, which seemed to help. This was an improvement over what we had been doing, but still was not having the desired impact. As an ITC (Instructional Technology Coach) my goal is no different than a classroom teacher's. I want to impact the teaching and learning in the classroom.
Fast forward a couple of months and in walks i21zone by Chalkable. Now I did an earlier blog about going through this training and how much I liked it, but I had no idea the impact it had on our teachers and the way we would do PD from now on. All of our trainings and even presentations have followed the model of - Model - Explain - Create Product. Teachers are eating this up!!! They love the fact they get to see how something works then have protected time to create something for their students. Even if it is an hour session after school, we are sticking with this model. We have gone up over from .4% of teachers participating in voluntary PD to over 40 in teacher participation in PD. We are getting to roll out summer Tech Camp and from our preliminary numbers this is going to increase dramatically.
If we do not think "sit and get" works with students, I am not sure why we think it is the most effect for adults. Teachers as much as students want to be engaged in the learning process. I mean who doesn't?