Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tech Tuesdays

On many Tuesdays in my building, we have "Tech Tuesday".  Tech Tuesdays are days set aside to provide technology in-service/training to teachers and staff.  Teachers and staff are provided the opportunity to come in during their plan time and see presentations and receive instruction on various topics from basic skills to advanced applications.  Sessions last about 40 minutes and typically are voluntary.  It is important to provide sessions that teachers will find helpful and interesting.

The Basics

Early in the year, the Tech Tuesdays tend to provide instruction on the implementation of necessary technology skills.  These topics include First Class - our email system and communication tool, ProgressBook - our online grading tool, MasteryManager - our assessment analysis tool, as well as other software pieces that teachers need to be able to use.  There are also sessions regarding PowerPoint/Keynote, word processing, and Mac basics - since we are an Apple district.

Extended Thinking

As the year goes along, we spend time with more advanced topics as well as other tools that teachers might find helpful.  We have already spent a day working with teachers on how they can use Twitter - see earlier post.  Our focus was on how they would use Twitter for personal and professional learning, and how they can follow people to grow their PLN, connecting with people with common interests.  Our school has recently started Tweeting and we feel that it can be another way for communication and sharing to occur.  We are also planning future events to include topics like Google Applications, Online tools - like FlickrSlideShareAudioBoo, etc.  

One of the other high schools ran a day called "Tech Fair" - like science fair - by demonstrating different ways that teachers use technology in class with the students at their building.  By exposing their teachers to different technology integration methods, their teachers were able to see what is available to them and also see the application into the classroom.  We will try to hold a day like that at my building during the next couple of months.

It is important to provide opportunities for teachers to grow personally and professionally using technology tools.  The more tools that they can be exposed to, the more opportunities that they may be able to share with the students.  Their comfort level will be higher, their interest will be greater, and their chance of looking for implementation will be increased.  Not all teachers will know all things, but if there are tools that they can learn and use, it will benefit instruction and learning.   Tech Tuesdays is about supporting teachers as they grow and learn.

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