Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Faculty Training Model

(When I started blogging my goal was to post once a week.  That has turned out to be much harder than I thought.)

Last week we had a half day faculty training day.  This day was unique for us because faculty members were allowed to plan and run the training sessions. We were broken up into grade level teams (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th) which made 4 groups of 20-25 teachers.  Each group had two faculty leaders to organize their team's meeting.

I was very excited about this and got right to work planning our (12th grade) meeting along with my co-leader.

I wanted to provide an opportunity for teachers to share how they had been using technology in their classrooms this year. During most of the previous training sessions the presenters were hand-selected and I thought we might be missing some really cool stuff that others were doing. Two weeks before the training date I sent an email to all of the members of my group asking what they were doing in class with technology. If ANYONE responded, I followed up and personally asked them to share. I didn't want to only see teachers who were experts and were very comfortable with how they were using tech.  It was important to also see teachers who are tech novices share what was working for them at their current level of expertise. 

By communicating directly with some of these teachers I was able to provide encouragement and find out what help they might need from me to present (i.e. have an iPad to VGA adapter available). I wanted their experience to be as comfortable as possible so that they would be willing to share again and so that others would be willing to share in the future.

I scheduled 10 minutes for each person. I made this clear in the beginning because I did not want to have a step by step clinic on how to use the tech, I wanted it to be "show-and-tell" style. I thought this was good because we could see many teachers present in a short amount of time and they didn't need to prepare a whole 30-40 minutes. I told them to shoot for 5-6 minutes of show-and-tell and use the remaining time to answer questions and allow for discussion of how this could be applied to other classes and disciplines.

Because this was our first time using this system, I didn't know exactly how much time we would actually use. So I scheduled my self and my co-leader for the end of the day. This way we could fill in extra time if the earlier teachers went short. Also, and I think more importantly, we could cut ourselves out if we were running out of time.  This way no one would have hurt feelings as we knew we might not get a chance to share before the day even started. As it ended up my co-leader was able to present but I was not. That is fine because there will be plenty of opportunities for me in the future.

At the end of our session we conducted a feedback survey using a Google Form. My co-leader was kind enough to prepare this before the meeting and we had enough iPads available for everyone to use and fill out the survey right away. This served two purposes: 1. we were able to easily get immediate feedback in an organized way and 2. we were able to model the use of Google forms for the teachers who had never seen it before.

How did the teachers feel about the training day? We received very positive feedback.  Just as we had hoped, many teachers responded with requests for more training with some of the tools presented that day.

How did the admin feel about the training day? I believe they liked it as well because twice I have heard them brag about it to people from other schools.

Have you done anything similar? Do you have any faculty training successes to share?

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