What does it mean to be a learner? How do we learn best? We often ask these questions in relation to our students, but rarely do we ask them of educators. Year 1 of the DLC is about providing opportunities, structures, and supports to allow teachers to learn about technology as part of a collaborative team of professionals.
The objectives of year one work in the DLC are:
- To increase technical proficiency and professional learning with classroom hardware and software
DLC team leaders and members are required to participate in a minimum of 8 hours of technology professional development outside their meeting tis A slate of technology specific courses are available through the Office of Professional Development within the district, or teams can choose to develop their own professional study group specific to their needs. These courses are meant to be a starting point for further exploration and work within the team on whatever technology tools and resources they choose. Within the district, there are also supports for independent learning through Atomic Learning and online instructional spaces such as the Instructional Technology blog.
- To participate in opportunities for collaborative support in instructional and technology growth
Team leaders begin their role with a two day kickoff event where they are introduced to the Adaptive Schools model of professional collaboration as well as St. Vrain’s implementation of Google Apps for Education and Moodle. During these two days, team leaders learn how to set team learning goals, how to plan for and lead effective team meetings, and how to use the district’s online collaborative tools to document and communicate their team’s work. These two days aren’t meant to be technology training days, but a time to get team leaders ready for their role of leading a group of adult learners.
After the kickoff meeting, team leaders plan and lead monthly meetings with their school team where they set professional learning goals and use their time together to work toward those goals and to reflect on their progress. Team Leaders also participate in a monthly meeting with other team leaders from around the district where they get opportunities to share and learn from one another. District staff from both the Office of Professional Development and the Department of Technology Services are active participants in the team leader meetings and are available for support during school level team meetings.
The collaborative supports extend beyond the physical meetings with the use of district supported online tools. Teams use a Google Template and shared Google folders to plan and disseminate their meeting agendas and minutes. A Moodle course is used to provide conversation and reflection spaces within and across teams.
- To develop awareness of global virtual communities as resources for continued personal professional growth
By using collaborative tools such as The St. Vrain Virtual Campus and St. Vrain’s instance of Google Apps, participants build an awareness of the resources available beyond the physical walls of the classroom. These resources are as likely to be in the form of people doing similar work in other locations as they are to be tutorials or sites for technical learning.
Ultimately, the goal for year 1 is to build a capacity for learning about new technology tools as they come along. By focusing on the processes and structures needed for continual learning, the hope is that participants will feel confident that they are capable of adopting and adapting to the change that is inevitable in educational technology.
Year 1 at a Glance
- Team leaders submit an application on behalf of their team to join the DLC.
- Team leaders attend two days of training on team processes, planning and conducting meetings, and online collaborative tools.
- Teams develop goals to guide their professional learning.
Ongoing in Year 1
- Teams take 8 hours of technology professional development related to their team goals
- Teams meet monthly to reflect on and continue their learning. Team meetings are documented through a Google template that is shared with the larger DLC community. Reflections and questions are shared through a Moodle discussion forum.
- Team leaders meet monthly to reflect on and continue their learning and to share their team’s progress. Team leader meetings are documented through a Google template that is shared with the larger DLC community. Reflections and questions are shared through a Moodle discussion forum.
Year 1 completion
- Team leaders participate in a one day wrap-up to document and share their team’s learning with the DLC community.
- Stipends are distributed to team leaders and members for their participation.