2019-20: Creating and Sharing Instructional Technology Professional Learning Goals


In my role as Digital Integration Specialist at a large high school, one of my responsibilities (and privileges) is helping to set goals for the school and a professional development plan for our 108 teachers.  This process is always a little daunting. It also varies each year depending on our administrators, district goals, number of new teachers, my Technology Teacher Leaders and the amount of time we are given for instructional technology professional development.

Creating these goals and plan is something I start thinking in the spring each year.  This spring, our teachers had three opportunities to give feedback related to instructional technology.  One was a district-wide survey through BrightBytes. Students and parents also took this survey, so it gave us a lot of good data.  Teachers completed Google Docs reflections on their 2018-19 instructional technology work as part of our April technology day. They also completed an End of the Year Instructional Technology Google Form to share what worked best for them, how they chose to get help and what they’d like to see for next year (along with other questions).

So this summer, I sat down with all of that data and just read through it (a few times). I looked for common themes and places to start when planning.  2019-20 will be our 7th year as a 1:1 school (4 years with iPads and now our 3rd year of Chromebooks). Many of our teachers are strong in their implementation of instructional technology to help meet their standards and help students learn.  We have had approximately 40 new teachers in the last 3 years. Some come to us with a strong foundation in instructional technology while others are brand new to a 1:1 environment.   

As for time, we will be working with a little less time for PD than we have had in the past.  Since I started this job in the 2013-14 school year we have been fortunate to have 7-8 hours of dedicated instructional tech PD each year (usually once a month on our delayed Wednesday mornings).  This year in an effort to provide more common planning time for teachers, we’ve cut back on sessions dedicated to instructional technology professional learning.

As I was planning for 2019-20 I also thought about the teacher technology course I taught last year:  Authentic Technology Integration and Instructional Design ( #D5AuthTech ). Each semester I had a group of teachers from throughout the district take this intermediate/advanced course for graduate credit and/or technology proficiency.  Teachers shared amazing lessons and ideas during this course, and I knew I wanted to take some of those ideas and apply them to our general instructional tech PD.

My main takeaway from both BrightBytes and my #D5AuthTech course was a focus on the 4 Cs: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.  We have talked about these in our PD the past, but they have not been the central focus of our PD. When I talked to my new Assistant Principal for Instruction, this idea fit right in with other school and district goals – she was excited.  When the Technology Teacher Leaders and I met for back to school planning I shared my ideas with them and we figured out some of the details. I love working with a dedicated team!

So for 19-20 our instructional technology PD goal is to provide all teachers with professional learning opportunities tied to the 4 Cs.   


I was excited to share this idea with our teachers. I knew I needed to introduce our plan in a way that would model and reinforce communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.  I had 30 minutes at a faculty meeting this past week and wanted to make it count.

I create a Pear Deck with some quick information for our teachers.  I wanted to let them know where this idea had come from and that we had listened to their suggestions.  Our plan is designed to:

  • Support & improve teaching and learning
  • Connect with standards, data teams, SLOs, etc.
  • Recognize best practices & teacher knowledge
  • Respect individuals
  • Provide choice
  • Build on last 7 years

I shared a lightning-fast look back at our some of our focal points over the last seven years including:

  • ISTE Standards for Students & Educators
  • Profile of the SC Graduate
  • Bloom’s & Webb’s DOK
  • Google Classroom for communication
  • Using technology to support reflection

Then I rolled out our new 4 Cs logos and asked teachers to choose one area where they felt most confident (star) and one where they wanted to grow (heart).  They were to think about the 4 Cs in relation their students needs and how instructional technology can help meet these needs. With Pear Deck they simply “dragged their icons” and then I was able to show their responses to the whole group.  It did not surprise me that their icons were all over the place. That fits right in with our faculty and their great breadth of knowledge and the strength that comes from recognizing their differences.

Then it was time for action!  Instead of telling them about which days we’d be doing which activities and what resources are available to them for professional learning, I created a digital BreakoutEDU game.  They were in groups of 3-4 and had 10 minutes to complete 6 locks. All of the locks were tied to a new Instructional Technology website I’d created this summer. The site is full of resources for teachers and also has pages dedicated to our PD goals, the 4 Cs and our professional learning opportunities.

This was our first faculty breakout, and I was not sure what to expect.  I have taught about digital breakouts at conferences and had large group participate, but I was not sure how it would go over at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon after a full day of teaching.  But our teachers were great and they jumped right in. Most groups broke out in the 10 minutes.

I’m glad our teachers were able to experience a digital breakout and see how it’s great for introducing new information or reviewing material already learned. And talk about needing the 4 Cs! All 4 were evident as teams worked together.

So, what’s next?  We’ll focus over the next two months on resources related to communication and collaboration.  Then we’ll move to creativity and critical thinking (although they are, of course, often intertwined).  In the spring, teachers will have even more ways to learn – podcasts, e-learning, in person PD, #Comeseemeteach and more.  Then they’ll get to decide how they want to share what they’ve learned. Teachers will get to earn badges for each of the 4 Cs by sharing how they used instructional technology to help their students.  

I can’t wait to see what great teaching and learning happens in 2019-20 at Dutch Fork High!

Teamwork & Personalized PD

For our March PD, our administration asked us to offer our instructional technology professional development during teachers’ planning periods instead of on our delayed Wednesday morning time. I love to try something different, but I was concerned about teachers’ reception to meeting during planning periods. Our 110 teachers are already pulled in so many directions during this time each day, so I knew I had to make the PD meaningful and relevant. I am thankful that I have a team of 5 full-time teachers who also work as Technology Teacher Leaders (TTLs) to help create meaningful PD experiences for our teachers.

  • Step 1 – Survey our teachers. This year’s instructional tech PD sessions have offered choice and they have tied to our school focus on reflection. For March, I wanted to expand beyond reflection. So we created a Google Form with a few simple questions – some multiple choice, but also an open-ended question asking them what they’d like to learn about or a problem they’d like us to try to help solve.
  • Step 2 – Review results of our form. The TTLs and I met during the part of an in-service day to review the results. We sorted them by block and looked at what skills/tools our teachers most wanted to learn about. We also looked at whether they were more interested in taking a deep dive into a single tool/strategy or learning about several tools.
  • Step 3 – Create a schedule. It was clear that our teachers had varied needs and wanted different things out of our PD time. We chose the most popular requests for each of the 4 blocks and decided we would offer 2 “Learn” sessions each planning period – where a TTL or myself would lead a group. In a “Learn” sessions we would teach about a tool and its application with plenty of time for questions and some time for them to try the tool themselves. To meet the needs of the other teachers who really just wanted time to explore on their own, we decided to create resources for those teachers to use during our PD day.
Our Google Slides PD Resource for our Tech PD day. All of the bottom icons were linked to Google Doc resources for our teachers.
  • Step 4 – Create resources. I love to read about edtech resources and applications and have gathered many resources – mostly collected in Evernote, our school’s internal website, and Google Drive. We wanted to gather the resources into one place for this PD. Each TTL took a topic (or 2) and created a one page Google Doc of resources and suggestions. I created the remaining resources. We then made those Docs viewable inside our district. I created a one page Google Slides with the schedule for the Learn sessions and then icons for each of the Explore options. By using the “Publish to the web” option in Slides, this became a simple “flier” for our day with interactive links.
  • Step 5 – PD Day! Thanks to a donation from our pep club, we had snacks and some door prizes each block throughout the day. Teachers came to our Media Center during their 85 minute planning period for 45 minutes of tech PD time. They could chose to attend one of the Learn sessions or find a spot in the rest of the Media Center to explore resources, collaborate and create. At least one member of our instructional tech team was available to help those who chose to explore.
One teacher’s reflection via Google Drawings
  • Step 6 – Collect Feedback. At our school, we run all PD through “Zone” Google Classroom groups – teachers are divided into 4 groups based on the administrator who oversees their department. I created a simple Google Drawing for them to write about their learning: “something you learned or liked from today’s Tech PD time,” “something you plan to try to do as a result of today’s Tech PD,” and “something you’d like help with or something we could plan for a future PD.” I chose a Drawing instead of our usual forms, so they could have some experience with a new tool and see possibilities for the “make each student a copy” feature in Google Classroom.

Based on the comments during our PD and the responses in the Google Drawings, the day was mostly a success. Teachers found ways tools like Google Forms, Sites, Slides, Screencastify, and Adobe Spark could help them and their students meet their learning goals. I love being able to provide choice for teachers in their professional learning.

A day like this would not be possible without a great team of leaders who work together to create meaningful PD and teachers who are willing to learn and explore and continuously improve their teaching to meet the needs of all students.

#DFHSPride #Pridein5