I am lucky enough to work for a district that has a great vision as to where education and technology are headed. Our administration understands that both must work together in order for our students to be successful now and in the future. For the past 5 years we (the instructional technology department) have been holding a week-long staff development during the summer that we call INTERACT: INtegrating TEchnology Realistically Among Classroom Teachers. It stems from the vision of our superintendent, Dr. Thomas Randle. He could see that we could not keep throwing money into technology without having a plan for training our teachers not only how to use it, but more importantly how it can be integrated into our curriculum.
While technology is a focus for the week, it is not the only focus…not even the main focus. Our team focuses on Marzano’s Instructional Strategies that Work. Each day we take a look at one or two of the nine strategies deemed most important in educating our students. We break down the strategy, lead the group of teachers through one or two activities dealing with that strategy, and then discuss and plan ways to enhance their teaching in the classroom. I am amazed at how powerful this week is, both for the teachers that attend as well as myself as an instructor. The conversations that take place throughout the week blow me away. Listening to, and feeling, the passion that these educators have for their profession and their students is truly uplifting for me. It energizes and refocuses me for my own job. Summer vacation is just beginning for all of us, but it gives me a purpose to prepare myself for the upcoming year. My summer will be spent relaxing, don’t get me wrong, but I will also find plenty of time to review and research new opportunities for technology to be brought into the classroom effectively alongside the strategies we are focusing on.
Over the summer I hope to share some new ideas with you. Growing my PLN and finding new ways to infuse technology into our district are my two main focuses. I hope you will follow along so we can grow together!