Engage in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in organizational change and leadership, project management, and adult learning to improve professional practice
Many of my investigations using the practical inquiry model during the DEL program demonstrate how technology coaches deepen professional knowledge and improve professional practice. Focusing again on professional development shows how I have been continually investigating the best practices around technology integration, leadership in adult learning, and professional development for most of the last year. This investigation started for me in June of 2017 with my post Designing Meaningful PD for Teachers – What’s Out There? This was probably my first look into some of the principles of adult learning, though informally, and I found that the most worthwhile changes in professional learning had approached a common problem in a new way. Some districts had managed to leverage Twitter, or microcredentials or had developed a repository of tools and resources that was easy for teachers to navigate and use. These are some examples of disruptions in the standard practices for teacher professional learning that allow for greater participation and open doors to transformational professional development. If my district was able to host a Twitter chat, or further incorporate microcredentials into online PD, I would feel that my work is supportive of the needs of more teachers.
One other post Choice in Professional Development, offers a slightly different vision for professional develop that I am interested in exploring in any of my schools. In my post I share how a high school leadership team designed their own personalized professional development mini-conference based on a need they saw in their own staff. They then recruited and encouraged staff members to be the presenters and gave staff freedom in attendance. Finally they chose strategically to incorporate a few technology tools into their mini-conference that would meet a need and work for teachers in their classrooms. Then they collected feedback and continued the learning through the year. The result was a school wide transformation in practice around personalizing learning that is transferred to students. Learning about this school and PD model was necessary for me to be able to suggest a similar model to schools where I am the instructional technology coach. It also aligns well with some of the work we have been doing at the district level around adult learning.
Working with the assistant superintendent for elementary education has given me a clearer picture about the strategic direction of the district for professional learning and shown how I can support that change. Knowing of changes that are happening with principal learning allows me to focus on my own learning in order to help implement change in schools. Since principals will be participating in PLCs next year, as a coaching team we are focusing on how to successfully coach a team. This applies to our work with teachers and principals.
So whether I am working to implement professional development or support teams of administrators or teachers, continued professional learning and understanding of adult learning principles are an essential skill for my continued improvement as an instructional technology coach.
For more information see my complete posts on Designing Meaningful PD for Teachers – What’s Out There? or Choice in Professional Development