Collab Lab 32: Recap & Notes

Last Thursday’s Collab Lab explored what teacher-centric professional development might look like.  We had participants introduce themselves by sharing their best and worst PD experiences. As we listened to those conversations, one thing that stood out was the number of times the physical setting of the PD session came into play– an offsite location offered an opportunity to shift thinking, a session which had teachers sitting on cafeteria benches for two hours conveyed that those planning the session had not considered what the experience would be like for participants.

With those experiences as background, the first task for attendees was to inventory what they hope to gain/provide through PD. Those ideas fell into several broad categories:

Enthusiasm & Inspiration:

  • Excitement to replicate and extend
  • Inspiration
  • Enthusiasm
  • Enhancement of skills
  • Excitement — I want to leave and keep on working on it
  • Exciting change focused, purposeful, sound rationale
  • Transformation
  • Motivation to do what is best for students
    • their learning
    • their retention
    • their personal growth
  • Fun, humor, interactive
  • How PD looks for females

Gain Knowledge

  • Gain Knowledge about specific tech subjects– AI, VR, etc.
  • Learn to engage students in new technologies purposefully
  • See great pedagogy modeled and be able to practice it
  • Rich content
  • Increase knowledge…
    • student relationships
    • engaging students
  • Knowledge that pertains to me!
  • Chance to learn from everyone in the room [recognize the experience in the room]
  • Develop a different perspective regarding those around us
  • Resources
  • Realistic or tangible outcomes
  • Share researched based best practices
  • Access to new information
  • Knowledge
  • Current best practices
  • New perspectives
  • Authentic experiences
  • Actionable skills, knowledge, connections

Collaboration

  • A space to collaborate & innovate
  • Ideas surrounding achieving classroom equity at the college and eventually university level
  • Follow up/accountability
  • Engagement through action and collaboration
  • Applicable/relevant
  • Processing time
  • Opportunities to reflect
  • Group of similar professionals for
    • encouragement
    • support
    • common passion
  • A tribe

Connections

  • Connections for students
  • Authentic experiences
  • Excitement, passion, purpose
  • Exposure to other experts, mentors, coaches
  • Real access to tools, tech, mindset of others in an interest area
  • Contacts/networking
  • Fellow, passionate learners
  • Teacher to teacher PD
  • Respect as a capable adult learner
  • Opportunities to share my expertise
  • Form a supportive community
  • Increase collaboration among staff on working with students
  • Growing a community of learners.

Stretch & dive deep

  • Be forced to struggle and stretch
  • A desire to want more — go deeper
  • Stretch
  • Deeper investment in your work
  • Student PD — if you could learn anything at school what would it be?
  • Domain specific PD
  • Become better/more effective at what you want to do
  • Opportunities for students to grow, motivate their self in learning

Visions of what PD could be

With this broad set of goals in hand, we allowed a bit more time for conversation about how one might realize one more of those. From there we asked attendees to pair up and create a vision of what PD that aims to meet some of those goals might look like. Here’s some of what was shared.

Implementation of a school wide-initiative

Focus

  • One big goal or vision for whole school

It is not

  • A lecture
  • Cookie cutter

Participants

  • all stakeholders [in strategic teams that make sense]

It happens

  • Off site, neutral territory
  • As a 3-5 year plan with set SMART goals and monthly check in intervals

I’m able to leverage it 

  • Because all other PD is filtered through this vision
  • As a realistic shared vision — teams set goals aligned with vision

Community

Focus

  • Supporting persistence & community

It does not

  • Have a top-down structure
  • Feel contrived

Participants

  •  A group of people with a shared goal

It happens

  • In varied settings, especially getting people out of their everyday environment
  • Settings where everyday pressures are less pressing (leave town?)
  • Includes both structured and unstructured time

I’m able to leverage it

  • By having the flexibility to allow good things to happen
  • Let participants lead

A specific helpful computer program (one of many)

Focused on

  • Benefits & “how tos” of a new program

It is not

  • Condescending
  • Just a lecture
  • A one one and done or passing trend

It includes for participants

  • Hands on exploration
  • QA, comments, input from participants
  • Brainstorming, how could you use this?
  • Builds enthusiasm
  • Offers + schedule of follow up support for participants at all levels
  • Time for follow up
  • Research based, relevant
  • Of value — time saving/increased effectiveness

Team Cohesion

Focused on

  • Creating a more collaborative and safe team environment by establishing norms and committing to action

It does not

  • Provide space for admiring the problem and creating blame

It includes as participants

  • The entire team

It happens

  • At a retreat

I’m able to leverage it 

  • By creating a commitment to change and holding myself accountable for it.

Mindful moments

Focus

  • Transitions when students enter class. Being present and acknowledging current mental state/capacity for learning. 
  • Self compassion, self awareness, self efficacy

It does not

  • Have lectures or assignments
  • Mandate the rules of how to apply or engage

Participants

  • Teachers/faculty

It happens

  • 45-50 minutes initial time of session demonstrating strategies for teachers to learn and practice
  • Follow up email with people who are practicing/to share with others

I’m able to leverage it

  • At the end of the session we build an accountability partnership with other session goers. Email each other to check in once a week for three weeks. After that the partnership will re-assess

Power of Data – GIS

Focus

  • Scientific inquiry using GIS technology
  • Create individual lesson plans
  • Argue from evidence

It is not

  • A lecture

Participants

  • Educators– formal & informal

It happens 

  • As active learning over a 35 hour block

I’m able to leverage

  • Software
  • Career stories
  • Data collection
  • Varied context

Differentiation

Focus

  • Differentiation
    • access
    • accountability
  • learner needs, not roll out of programs

It does not

  • Disrespect the learner. Rather, it encourages choice, voice of participants

Participants

  • Leaders
  • Experts
  • Learners

It happens

  • During regular employee hours but can continue after ours or on vacations

I’m able to leverage it

  • Online, finding continuous connections, learning, teaching others
  • Us in classroom and in other profession
  • By sharing with colleagues

Equity Boot Camp

Focus

  • Equity — education & community
  • Misconceptions about race & identity
  • Racial inequality

It does not

  • Teach historical wrongs ONLY
  • Focus on people of color ONLY
  • Take it easy

Participants

  • Educators
  • Politicians
  • Advocates
  • Naysayers

It happens

  • At a ranch over a weekend in August

I’m able to leverage this to 

  • Tap into people’s desires
  • Immerse people in transformation
  • Take actions (planned during the retreat)
  • Use monthly check-ins and a return in January to move towards resolution)

Thanks!

Thanks to Dec Code Camp for providing the space and to our featured participants for sharing their expertise and ideas:

Amber DuChateau — Education Design and Technology Consultant, UWM School of Nursing

Joe Du Fore — Director of Business Development, Wisconsin Education Innovations

Shaba Martinez — Digital Learning & Library Media Specialist, Bruce Guadalupe Community School

Angela McCarty — Director of Education Services, Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC)

Deidre Roemer — Director of Leadership and Learning, West Allis West Milwaukee School District

Resources

Our participants shared a number of resources.  Here’s the list:

Code for Milwaukee Internship Program Code for Milwaukee is a civic technology non-profit that builds out projects that serve the greater Milwaukee community and beyond. They are starting an internship program that is open to middle and high school students who will help build out a technology based solution to solve a problem our community faces

MTEC

UWM Power of Data Workshops: 35 hour paid professional development program that enables st secondary teachers to increase students’ content knowledge, 21 Century Skills and awareness of geospatial technology careers through Geospatial Inquiry and data analysis.  June 2020

Wisconsin ArcGIS Map Contest The 2020 Wisconsin map contest is part of the Esri national student ArcGIS Online competition. It is open to all Wisconsin middle and high school students.