We know three things:
- Learning takes time.
- Learning is a social process.
- Learning about technology should be embedded within sound instructional practices.
As part of a two-year commitment to professional growth, teachers work in collaborative teams to develop personal and professional proficiency with technology and innovative instructional practices, ultimately resulting in increased student achievement.
In year one, participating teachers will be provided with time, training, and support in learning to collaborate formally as well as to use laptops, projectors and other technology tools available in their school. Teachers will have opportunities to enhance their practice in a supportive environment of constructive risk-taking.
Year two will focus on giving teachers the time and resources to think about the intersection of student learning and classroom technology. Teachers will engage in a teacher research process where they identify areas of student need and reflectively and purposefully apply technology resources as tools to increase student achievement. Each team will focus on a team or member identified need and work with curriculum experts on actively engaging students in learning through collaborative practices, inquiry, and challenge-based projects.
It’s important to note that the work of the DLC is not aligned with the adoption of specific technology tools. The intention of coming together to purposefully learn, explore, and share is more important than the type, model, or brand of technology used. The common elements of the work, including the processes we use to document and share learning within the community and to build community within and across groups build the program into one which transcends the typical training model of technology professional development.
The practices and beliefs that shape our work are grounded in the National Staff Development Council’s Standards for Staff Development, which are organized into three categories:
In the DLC, communities of teachers are developed at both the school and the district level. The school level teams receive support and encouragement both from within the larger DLC community and from the district level staff in curriculum, assessment, and professional development. District adopted practices such as the Adaptive Schools model, Data Driven Dialog, and Professional Learning Communities are all important components of the DLC.
In addition, monthly team leader meetings are designed to provide a model of for team collaboration and to help team leaders walk through the processes they will then carry back to their school teams.
Teams are given training and access to district data analysis tools such as Alpine Achievement as well as instruction in developing methods for collecting and analyzing informal and anecdotal data they collect in their day-to-day teaching. Teams are provided support in leading teacher research projects in their classrooms in year two through a partnership with the CSU Writing Project so that they may help guide the district in determining effective uses of technology to support instruction.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of our work in the DLC comes at two levels. Ongoing outside evaluation of the DLC is provided through our partnership with the Council on 21st Century Learning in determining the effectiveness of our program and in making adjustments and improvements as we move forward.
Instead of adding additional content standards and practices to the classroom, teams are encouraged to develop projects and explore tools that support, enhance and improve the learning already taking place in their classrooms. By providing spaces for online reflection and sharing, the larger school community is involved in and aware of the ongoing work of the team.
A PDF that gives a brief overview of the program and the application for participation that are distributed to interested schools can be found below.
The DLC currently serves almost 300 teachers in 26 schools in the St. Vrain Valley School District.