Digital Directions - Summer 2013 - (Page 16)

ILLUSTRATION: iStockphoto_Pialhovik FLIPPED PD: A Minnesota district relies on video and jobembedded coaching to improve teachers’ tech skills By_Robin L. Flanigan 16 >> www.digitaldirections.org A Building Blocks To Success nna Wilcek was comfortable instructing her students on how to interview residents of a nearby retirement community and write biographies of those people. How to integrate technology into the project was another story. The 6th grade teacher recalls asking, “What ideas do you have for me?” during a recent face-to-face workshop with Wayne Feller and Kristin Daniels, the technology-integration specialists in the 8,500-student Stillwater Area Public Schools, in Minnesota. The collaborative, technology-driven nature of the relationship between teachers and the technology coaches is the hallmark of what the Stillwater district calls “flipped professional development.” Known as job-embedded coaching in educational leadership circles, flipped PD offers face-to-face support and personalized online resources, such as how-to videos on using interactive-whiteboard software or the iPad’s multi-tasking bar. Teachers watch the videos to find new or better approaches and then discuss developing those approaches with the technology-integration specialists. Under that system, Wilcek, who teaches at the 347-student Andersen Elementary School, learned how to edit student-shot movies in iMovie, export them into iBooks Author, and post the finished products on her website for downloading. “I wouldn’t have had the knowledge or time to pull all of that together,” she says. “It’s such a gift to have the specialists sit right next to you. They give me the confidence to move forward because I know I can have support whenever I want it.” Stillwater started flipped PD in 2011-12. Here’s how it works: Feller and Daniels meet with 200 classroom teachers and specialists in small groups each month for structured, two-hour coaching/ training and workshop sessions that focus on individual projects, then offer additional guidance by request. So far, the model is used in all nine of the district’s elementary schools, with 93 percent of classroom teachers participating. Coaching support is essential if teachers are to use technology effectively in the classroom, according to a 2011 white paper released by the International Society for Technology in Education, a Washingtonbased membership association that promotes innovative uses of educational technology. To support that idea, ISTE now has benchmarks for technology coaches seeking to give effective guidance and support to teachers in a digital age. Attitude Shifts Unlike in traditional professional development, context plays a critical role in flipped PD. Content area, grade level, technological expertise, and the interests of each teacher and specialist affect the type of online training offered. “We don’t come in dictating what they’re here to learn and work on,” Daniels says. “When they realize they’re being given time to think about what they want to be doing, and to grow at their own pace, they’re absolutely relieved. And there’s been a remarkable shift in attitude toward personal growth because of that.” Stillwater embraced flipped PD because “it had the largest impact and really was the highest return on investment,” says Michael Dronen, the coordinator of educational innovation and technology in the district. The district was inspired by research from the 1980s, still cited today, that showed only 10 percent to 15 percent of teachers added a new PAGE 18 > http://www.digitaldirections.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Digital Directions - Summer 2013

Digital Directions - Summer 2013
Contents
Editor’s Note
DD Site Visit
Bits & Bytes
Test-Driving the Common Core
Flipped PD: Building Blocks to Success
Virtual Learning in the Early Years
Kindergarten the Virtual Way
7 Steps to Picking Your LMS
Cracking the Code
Powering the Crowd

Digital Directions - Summer 2013

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