Professional Learning Strategies helping Administrators and Teachers for teaching at home
As a District Technology Director, Chief Technology Officer, Technology or Instructional Coach, your role will continue to have a major impact during these times of teaching and learning at home. You may have a well-established professional learning plan that was working for your teachers during school, but now you have to alter it a bit in order to assist your administrators and teachers. Also, there may be a chance that your professional learning strategies may have to work for not only your teachers but the parents who may be assisting as well. The great thing is you are not alone. There are a lot of CTOs, Technology Leaders, and Technology Coaches who are trying to assist their teachers during this time.
Technology and Digital Toolkit
At FETC 2020, I had the honor of presenting a session on Technology Coaches creating a “toolkit” that can be used to assist with professional learning. A digital toolkit is very important for a time such as this. Teachers and administrators need a place to find resources they may need, as it relates to the use of digital tools. Before I share any ideas with those who are reading this article, do know that everything I am sharing is based on modeling. I ask that you attempt to share these practices with the Instructional Leaders, first, in order to help the teachers become even more confident with their lessons. For instance; before you recommend a teacher use Zoom or Google Meet for scheduling meetings with students, administrators should use it first and schedule meetings with teachers.
Create a Website for eLearning Strategies and Communication
Using a simple website such as Google Sites, Wordpress, or even SITE123, to help you create a website that will share digital resources. You can use this site as a landing page to show teachers and administrators how different tools can be used. Remember, try not to overload your website with too many tools. Here is an example of a website created to share Remote Learning Ideas.
Use Collaborative tools with your Administrators and Teachers
Besides creating a website to share resources, you will also need a place for administrators and teachers to also share and collaborate with each other. Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams are two great collaborative digital tools that can be used for this. Allow teachers to share what is working with students as they are teaching online. Show the administrators how to use these platforms as a way to digitally “check-in” and ask questions on how they are doing. The goal here is to keep everyone encouraged and working together.
Create Professional Learning Sessions with Video Conferencing
The objective is to create a means of sharing professional development as if your administrators and teachers are at school. Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype, may offer great solutions for synchronous or asynchronous training. As you are sharing digital tools using Zoom or Google Meet, remember that this may be a learning curve for your leaders and teachers. Guide them through understanding the purpose of video conferencing. This will ultimately help administrators create virtual staff meetings, and teachers create learning opportunities with their students.
Help give teachers a digital voice to speak to school leaders
This is the most crucial task, in my opinion, to this new way of teaching and learning. As a Technology Director, I know we will do our best to provide technology devices, hotspots, and digital resources. Technology Coaches will provide online learning and teaching strategies. But we cannot forget the thoughts of our teachers and administrators. Allow them the opportunity to speak and give suggestions. Create a social outlet such as a Facebook Group for the teachers to speak up and motivate each other. Design a survey that asks questions or offers support, then turns it into a FAQ for them. Share the information with the administrators and help them strategize ways to show teachers they are listening. For instance, have administrators give shoutouts (digitally of course) to those teachers who are speaking up, sharing resources, and motivating others.
Tech Coach Toolkit: Digital tools support Administrators