Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Professional Development: IP21

Over the school year, a team of 5 faculty members (Michelle from UE: Emma and Sherie from MS; Dave and I from US) participated along with 200 educators in a professional cohort called Powerful Learning Practice (PLP). Through face-to-face meetings, virtual sessions and ongoing conversations we gained a deeper understanding of 21st century teaching and learning. As a team we developed a Professional Development program.

Why are we so fervent in our desire to create and continuing to improve a rigorous, student-centered learning environment? Because we know that we must prepare our students for a future incalculably different to the past we have known.

Schools are slowly shifting from traditional teaching and learning models to dynamic models that take advantage of opportunities to energize our interaction with one another through technology. And it is already quite clear that technology will impact not only the amount but also the quality and character of that interaction. Students like to learn in the environment that is already so much a part of their lives outside of school.

The cognitive domain as illustrated by Bloom's Taxonomy has also been modified to the new behaviors and actions emerging as technology advances and becomes more ubiquitous.

Faculty and staff professional development needs to be designed taking into account these paradigms.

True technology integration can only happen in a context where subject-specific content is taught with pedagogical methodologies that include technologies that enable students to achieve their learning outcomes.

The TPACK model provides an essential context for our Professional Development plan: content and pedagogy drive the technology, not the other way around.

The Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) model attempts to capture some of the essential qualities of knowledge required by teachers for technology integration in their teaching.

At the heart of the TPACK framework is the complex interplay of three primary forms of knowledge: Content (CK), Pedagogy (PK), and Technology (TK).

Content Knowledge (CK)
As faculty members we assume knowledge about our subject matter.
Pedagogical Knowledge
As faculty members we assume knowledge in pedagogies of student learning, classroom management, lesson plan development and implementation, and student evaluation. However, in the context of 21st century teaching and learning, there is a need for deeper pedagogical knowledge on a variety of instructional methodologies such as problem-based learning, inquiry instruction, critical thinking strategies, creativity, and differentiated instruction among others.
Technology Knowledge (TK)
It is essential for faculty to be knowledgeable in a variety of technological tools such as:
- Productivity tools (Office, Google Apps, etc.)
- Digital tools for communication, collaboration and creation (web 2.0)

Our Professional Development plan is standards-based. We selected the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), NETS (National Educational Technology Standards) as our criteria for 21st Century Teaching and Learning.
The standards provide a common set of expectations for faculty, administration and students.

The Professional Development Action Plan consists of 4 strands. At the core of this plan is the understanding that for Professional Development to be effective, it has to be meaningful and relevant to our own teaching.
PDA1. To achieve this relevance, each of us will create an Individual Plan for 21st Century Teaching and Learning. This will referred to as the IP21.
PDA2 and PDA3. There is a minimum requirement of six training sessions to acquire and/or refine the selected competencies. Three of the sessions will occur during Staff Development days.
PDA4. It is expected that all of us will demonstrate the acquisition of such competencies. The Instructional Technology team will be available throughout the school year for individual and group training sessions.

Over the past two days we have presented our PD plan to over 150 faculty and administration.

In order to facilitate the creation of the individual plans, we showed each of the standards along with relevant examples of what each standard looks like at the different levels: Early Childhood (EC)/Upper Elementary (UE), Middle School (MS) and Upper School (US).

We created a wiki IP21 with all the links to the different examples. During the summer our faculty can explore the site in more detail. When we return to school in August they will be able to modify their plan as needed. The wiki also includes proposed training sessions correlated to the TPACK model and the NETS-T,

Each individual plan has been created as surveys using Google Forms for the different divisions and the administrators. The results will be analyzed and each faculty member will receive a customized plan with suggestions for training.

So far, the response has been very positive. Our faculty feels that this plan gives them ownership and control over their PD needs instead of being forced to attend "one-size fits all" sessions.