“To turn off your iPad, you press the button on the side. Let’s practice turning it off and on, and our next steps will be to explore the App Store.”
This professional development on “iPads for Teachers” was genuinely a great recipe for PD:
- Hands-on teacher involvement
- Opportunities to put ideas into action
- Immediate followup in the classroom during the coming weeks
Unfortunately, I found myself bored to tears. The school where I’d previously taught was 1:1 with student iPads and I’d been using them in the classroom for at least three years. What I anticipated as an opportunity to enhance my instruction using digital tools turned into a daydreaming session on all of the work I could’ve been doing in my classroom.
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. We’ve all found ourselves in a well-intentioned, yet not relevant, professional development session generalized for a staff of perhaps several hundred teachers. Personalized learning for students and differentiation have been a focus in the world of education for several years and considered a must in the modern classroom. However, this type of thinking around learning has not been universally adopted for teachers as learners. If we’re expected to provide personalized learning for students, what can be done to support teachers in their quest for lifelong learning?
Great teaching is special. There might be comprehensive rubrics to measure it and best-selling books to define it; but there is something intangible yet deeply felt when you see the eyes of students in the middle of a powerful lesson, delivered by a powerful teacher.
Students’ eyes are on the teacher, on the work, and looking to each other. Students quickly and intentionally discuss and debate the learning of the day. At the conclusion of such a lesson, the bell seems like a surprise and an interruption all at once. This type of environment is special to witness and shouldn’t be a unique experience. We want all students to experience this, every day. This year, through my work as an instructional coach, I am more convinced than ever that the best teachers grow out of rich and empowering systems.
Sometimes we have to look outside to see inside. I recently shared a series of “teacher images” with a group of educators, confessing that these people had given me as much insight about the craft of teaching as anyone: Mister Rogers, James Lipton of Inside the Actor’s Studio, Julia Child, Jiro the sushi-master, and long-time basketball coach Pat Summitt. In each case, watching this person in the midst of his or her craft has given me entrance into my own. Some may see this as a subversive way of learning, others may call it connection making or transfer, but in the end, I call it inspiration. In fact, that’s where inspiration comes from: the interplay of different ideas, the exchange of disparate subjects, the juxtaposition of mediums. As Rosamond Harding notes in her book, An Anatomy of Inspiration, “originality depends on new and striking combinations of ideas” and that inspiration comes not only from knowing our subject deeply, but from “the more [we] know beyond it.”
Teaching Channel Teams is heading to Learning Forward, a conference dedicated to offering education leaders (you!) the tools, learning opportunities, and resources you need to implement effective professional learning in your schools. We will be showcasing our private collaboration platform for schools, districts, and education organizations, which enables teachers and teacher leaders to work together.
We’ll be covering the conference on Twitter, @TeachingChannel. If you’re at the conference come find us at Booth 414 and during these special events:
Book Signing and Book Giveaway
Best-selling author Jim Knight will be at our booth (Booth 414) signing copies of his book, Focus on Teaching: Using Video for High-Impact Instruction.
Monday, December 8th, 2:30-3:30 pm
Tuesday, December 9th, 11:45-12:45 pm
Free copies of the book will be provided by Teaching Channel during the times mentioned above, while supplies last.
The Teaching Channel Teams crew is heading to ASCD. This year’s ASCD conference theme is Every Learner: Someday is Now. Teams will be there showcasing our social and video-enabled professional development platform for schools, districts and education organizations.
Stop by our booth, number 1623. Say hello, see Teams in action, get some Teams goodies, and enter our raffle for a chance to win a SWIVL™.
This week Teaching Channel celebrates another BIG community benchmark: more than 1000 questions have been posted in our Q&A feature. If you’ve never used this tool, we’d like to introduce you to this GREAT “Insider Secret” on Teaching Channel. Unlike big threaded discussion boards where you have to hunt for answers, Teaching Channel Q&A allows you to post your specific question on its own page and watch the answers roll in from our ever-growing community of nearly 450,000 teachers across America.
Just see what happened when Terri Smith, a high school English teacher from Florida, posted a question about Common Core lesson plan templates — she wanted to find an easy-to-use digital version. Within a week, she had more ideas than she could possibly use. And even better, ideas continue to roll in. Every time there’s a new answer, Terri gets an email with a direct link to that answer. She doesn’t have to remember where she posted a question and hunt through a discussion board to find the answers. Q&A is a real time-saver for busy teachers.
The Teaching Channel Teams crew is heading to FETC, a conference dedicated to providing educators with inspiration and collaboration around improving teaching and learning through educational technology. Teaching Channel Teams will be there showcasing our social and video-enabled collaboration platform for schools, districts and education organizations.
Stop by our booth, number 330. Say hello, see Teams in action, get some Teams goodies, and enter our raffle for a chance to win a SWIVL™–turn an iOS device into your personal cameraman!
Also, don’t forget to attend a Speaking Session with Jennifer Magiera, Digital Learning Coordinator, Academy for Urban School Leadership.
The Teaching Channel Teams crew is heading to Learning Forward, a conference dedicated to offering education leaders (you!) the tools, learning opportunities, and resources you need to implement effective professional learning in your schools. Teaching Channel Teams will be there showcasing our private collaboration platform for schools, districts, and education organizations which enables teachers and teacher leaders to work together.
Our booth number is 116/118. Stop by, say hello, get some Teaching Channel Teams goodies, and enter our raffle to win a SWIVL™.
Here are three things I know about the Tch community:
- Video helps you understand the Common Core State Standards
- A majority of you say you are prepared to implement the Core
- You like to share what you’re learning with others!
I learned these key tidbits of information from our past three Tchers’ Voice surveys. We’ve learned so much from you throughout the school year. And, as we come to the close of June, I want to share these findings with you because this information is helping us plan for your return to the classroom in the fall.
Survey also shows rapid growth of community
Our first Tchers’ Voice survey of the New Year shows that we have a lot of new people to welcome to our community!
More than 29% of the educators who took part in our January survey have been coming to Teaching Channel for less than a month. Let me be the first among the Teaching Channel veterans to say we’re happy you’ve joined us and we look forward to your participation! Our survey is also helping us learn so much about how all of you are using Teaching Channel every day.