Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Power of PD

As some know, our school won $20,000 from Best Buy this year for new technology.  With the money, we purchased 15 Macbooks and 5 video cameras, along with the various accessories.

The primary users, thus far, have been myself and a colleague who helped create the videos.  This wasn't by design - we advertised that the equipment was available for everyone to use, and we'd be happy to provide some help.  No one had taken us up on the offer...

Yesterday, however, we finally got some PD time with an external presenter.  The content wasn't hard - indeed, as my colleagues sat down with the Macbooks, they were easily following along or moving ahead of the presenter.  Nothing incredibly complex was presented, but an amazing thing happened - teachers who had before shied away from using the laptops were getting very excited to try things in their classrooms.

It was interesting to see because more and more I'm discovering that it's not a lack of ability to use technology that is causing some teachers to avoid it, it is a lack of time to explore it.  Our very valuable 30 minute preps a day tend to be taken up with mundane things like marking and photocopying, and while I believe all teachers should spend some time on PD, it's not always the case.  Therefore, providing two hours of dedicated time was fantastic for my colleagues as they had the excuse to explore a technology they haven't had the chance to yet.

I encourage all "teach leaders" in schools to set aside some time for teachers to explore the technology - time they wouldn't have usually gotten, so time they wont feel like they should be using to mark or photocopy - you'd be amazed at what could happen!

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