First PD Sessions of the Year

In the Spring, our entire Instructional Support Team sat down and discussed how to handle our Summer Professional Development Sessions – what to offer, who was going to teach them, and what to teach. We created our session topics and formats. We had online learning, in person trainings, and on your own or as a team trainings. We decided to try a new format to broadcast our PD sessions, so we created this Google site and used a Google form for sign-ups.

Now, being that I am a tech geek and have this ridiculously over the top love of workshops and trainings, I would have signed up for everything. However, our staff apparently does not feel the same way. I’ve spent the summer wondering why. Here is the only reason I could come up with:

  • Everyone is burnt out.

Being in Wisconsin, education in and of itself is a bit shaky right now. We, as staff, use every bit of energy to focus ourselves and make sure that we are still doing everything in our power to make our students successful and to keep up with the new policies and decisions at the state and district level. Thus, we are burnt out.

I wish this wasn’t the case. I wish we would have seen more, way more, staff at our inservice sessions. Inservices they get paid to attend. Obviously, we didn’t market well and need to do a way better job next year. That and let’s be honest, this week, the weather has been gorgeous and it’s one of the last weeks before we have to report back.

However, we still did have a decent turn out of staff. Staff that made me smile and laugh for two days straight at their sheer excitement of learning new things and constant ‘aha’ moments. You all made me remember that this is EXACTLY why I took this job.

We have held sessions on Google Mail/Calendar, Google Docs/Presentations, Google Forms/Spreadsheets, Flipping the Classroom, Presentation Software, and Chrome Browser/Chromebooks. We have sessions running yet this week and next week on Advanced Haiku usage, Basic and Advanced SMART board training and iPad Basics and iPads in the Classroom.

The things staff thought were cool and that made me smile:

  • Creating a hyperlink to a set of text or an image instead of the huge long URL.
  • That Google Docs save automatically.
  • Being able to edit a Google Doc with someone else at the exact same time in two different locations.
  • Using a Google Form to collect student responses on an assessment
  • Staff who are tech bashful creating a Haiku class site, uploading and adding information, inserting a Google Form formative assessment and starting to use screencasting software with the hopes of flipping their classroom by the end of this school year.
  • Embedding Google Forms and other Web Tools into the LiveBinders set up for a class.
  • Staff creating screencasts to explain their programs or to start to flip their classrooms.
  • How to edit tables and make them pretty (adding background colors and being able to change the alignments) in a Google Doc
  • That there is way more to life than Powerpoint!

Spending time training the staff that wanted to be there and who seemed to learn so much (I have to send out the exit form yet, but will report the results) was rejuvenating. Knowing that these teachers spent hours thinking of new and creative ways to use technology in their classrooms and to save themselves time was extremely rewarding.

So far: PD = Success!