This post was written for the Achieving Excellence in CTE: The National Career Clusters Institute.
At Stone Ridge, we have a dynamic, engaged and motivated teaching faculty wanting to use technology to bring forth the full potential in their students. Teachers utilize technology to teach as well as to encourage deeper student learning. The educational technology team (made up of the Director of EdTech and Innovation as well as three Educational Technologists) at Stone Ridge has noticed that the following four teacher-driven factors influence effective use and application of technology in the classroom: motivation, energy, time and resource. We recognize that the vast majority of our teachers are self-motivated to effectively utilize educational technology and have the necessary energy to put thought into their curriculum planning. However, our teachers were lacking the time and resource (in the form of guidance) to explore, play and discuss the uses of technology for teaching and learning.
Based on this observation, I worked with the administration at Stone Ridge to develop an “Embedded Educational Technology Professional Development Program” called “Tech Sessions”. The purpose of “Tech Sessions” is to embed professional development into teacher schedules. The embedded nature of these sessions allows for teachers to receive regular professional development tailored and geared toward the individual teacher’s learning style, subject area and/or grade. These sessions which occur once every 6-8 days for 30 minutes during the school day and are assiduously developed and lead by the divisions’ Educational Technologist.
This embedded professional development model serves three purposes: 1) foster a relationship between the teachers and the Educational Technologists, 2) develop a safe environment for rich discussion and collaborations and 3) foster creativity and innovation.
Through these sessions, teachers have been booking the Educational Technologist to co-teach in the classroom as well as work with teachers to plan curriculum. Teachers are beginning to feel supported and encouraged in their educational technology endeavors and finding ways to inspire their students to learn deeply.
This conference presentation looks deeper into the technicalities of setting up an “Embedded Educational Technology Professional Development Program” as well as the impact it has on teaching and learning.