This year, we were able to introduce this opportunity to middle and high school teachers; more than 70 applicants were interested in becoming leaders in educational technology. Out of this 70, 30 were selected through a blind application process.
Our journey began on December 11th when members participated in teaming activities and engaged in lively discussions about teaching digital learners (students). Our discussion started by reading the introduction to Teaching Digital Natives by Mark Prensky. (A great read, by the way!)
Then, teachers had time to investigate their digital toolkit options. For each option, teachers received hands-on opportunities to use the tools and engage in conversations about how these tools can increase student engagement in the classroom. The showcased tools included iPads, Live Scribes, Digital Cameras, Netbooks, Swivl, and Laptops.
We wrapped up the day by using tools like Vocaroo and Google Voice to make a digital recording of the teacher’s learning goals.
Moving forward, this group will continue to collaborate for 3 years through a blended learning experience (i.e., both face-to-face and online). They will continue to discuss how to empower students to use technology to collaborate, research, problem solve, think critically and create new knowledge, all in a relevant, real-world learning environment.
Here are a few responses from the cohort members following our first PD day:
- “The most valuable aspect of the training was being able to speak with other professionals and brainstorm ideas, get feedback, and share best practice strategies.”
- “The training was excellent! I was excited to go and even more psyched when I left.”
- “Talking with other teachers! Also, the article we read was a good foundation for our discussion and our work.”
We are excited about working together as we continue to develop the ideal learning environment in BVSD.