I saw this post a while back in an educational technology forum:
I have been given roughly an hour for PD on January 4th to work with teachers on anything that I’d like. I rotate between 7 sites pre-k to 12th grade, but I will be working with 4th grade-12th grade teachers on this date. My boss mostly likes for me to introduce new tools to teachers during these opportunities. We have been focusing on Canva the last few months while we try to transition back to students creating work rather than the teacher worksheets, etc., that we used a lot of during the pandemic.
All of that to say, what would you use this time for? Should I show teachers how to be better organized with Google Keep/Tasks, find a free new tool for them to use in the classroom? Do you have any free project based EdTech tools that you love?
This was my reply:
Just wanted to say how sorry I am that you only are given 1 hour (a whole 60 minutes!) to do this important work. You and your educators deserve more systemic and strategic supports and investment than this. 😢 I’m tempted to say that, with this little time, it really doesn’t matter what you do because the likelihood of it being impactful is fairly low?
Let’s be clear: this is a big red flag that this school is just pretending at technology integration and coaching. They’re not devoting substantive time, effort, energy, or support toward robust technology integration. They’re not thoughtfully building upon prior work. It’s simply “Here’s a random hour. Do whatever you want. Maybe you could show teachers some new tools that probably won’t get used?” Does it really matter what this technology integration coach does? Not under these conditions…
This is the pattern in way too many schools. This isn’t the poor coach’s fault. This is a failure of leadership. It’s wishful thinking disguised as professional development, and it’s yet another example of a school that’s going through the motions instead of engaging in meaningful, long-term, thoughtful improvement. These wasted opportunities in schools just make me sad…
This person’s boss is wasting the ‘tools demonstrator’s time as well as the teachers’. The telltale is the statement – “My boss mostly likes for me to introduce new tools to teachers during these opportunities.”
Why are new tools being introduced to teachers? For what purpose? How will student learning be improved? How will teachers save time? Any technology needs to be used for an articulated purpose. Why are you using a pen rather than a pencil? Why do you want to use a whiteboard instead of a chalkboard? You can show somebody how to bait a hook, but they must also understand what to do with the hook and why catching a fish might be a good thing.
Rather than throw random free (and most likely not SOPPA friendly) tools to teachers, maybe ask questions to find where the inefficiency(ies) lies. Maybe ask what is the most frustrating, monotonous job, the time consuming tasks and how are you currently doing these tasks. Maybe then we can use a tool we already have (or find one) that they didn’t know exists. Maybe things go unanswered in the hour PD but now one understands the hurdles they are facing and now you can go hunt for the solutions.
Right?! These are FANTASTIC ideas, Rich. Thanks so much for sharing!