immooc

#IMMOOC: Final Thoughts

Tonight I finished the last chapter of The Innovator’s Mindset. I was sad to see it end, but I have learned so much from reading it. I have spent time blogging about the chapters, posting thoughts on Twitter, and even meeting George Couros in between.

I have found myself inspired to take my ideas and go forward with them. I have found inspiration to push forward with my new ideas for professional development. I’ve mentioned FlucoTECH throughout my blogging on this book, and I know I can make it be something. I need to face the adversity and take the challenge head on. I need to keep looking at my plan and make it better. I need to get the feedback and input from my colleagues and make it better. We cannot stick to the path of traditional PD, but instead we must forge something new.

I’ve also been encouraged to really share my story on my social media, and in turn it has motivated me to keep pushing for school branding in my district. I’m not done. I need to get the teachers on board and I need them to see what a difference it can make when we share the things happening in our schools and our classrooms. This is another bit of adversity, but I need to overcome it.

I’m done being quiet. I’m ready to be loud and to stand up and say “This isn’t okay!” I’ve noticed this trend in my social media and writing since attending Copenhaver Institute. There is no reason and no excuse not to learn and try something new. You are not too old. You are not too slow. You are not alone. You have help and you can do it, if only you change your mindset to tackle the challenge in front of you. No amount of me discussing ideas with someone will do a bit of good unless they listen with an open mind and consider how things might be different. It’s all about the mindset.

If you’re ready for a change…If you’re ready to make a change and begin by changing the way you think, then read The Innovator’s Mindset. If you believe there is much more to academics than grades and test scores, then read The Innovator’s Mindset. If you’re ready to change, go read The Innovator’s Mindset.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m ready to begin my next reading journey- The Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar!

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#IMMOOC: Are We There Yet?

The short answer? Nope. We are never there. There is no set point of arrival. There are only checkpoints. These checkpoints update and change often so that once you pass a checkpoint, another is just down the road.

Educators are never finished learning. Some may think they are, but they are not. There’s nothing that says once you’ve been in education “X” number of years that you can stop. You can’t stop. Oh, you did stop? Get out of education then. You can’t expect to prepare children for any kind of future if you’re stuck in the past and refusing to learn new things. Educators need to continue learning and growing. They need to model that same learning and growth for their students as well so that students see that learning doesn’t just apply to school assignments.

In Chapter 13 of The Innovator’s Mindset, George introduces readers to a chart and asks for their answers based on what they currently experience in their district. I replicated the chart in Docs and then added in my own answers:

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As you can see, there is still a long way to go for Fluvanna County. There needs to be a shift in mindset, and that first has to come from the top down level, as administration often determines how the professional development is delivered at each school. I also need to get to know the teachers that I serve better so that I can assist them and provide useful professional development to them. I am hoping to make changes with FlucoTECH, but I won’t know how well that works until I’ve had a chance to try it.

A big portion of this chapter focused on open sharing and building a digital portfolio, which I went into in my last entry. We need to move away from simply waiting for the “right” PD to happen and fall into our laps. Rarely will it ever occur. Whether you scour Twitter, read blogs, or read educational books you take PD into your own hands. You have the power to create your learning. Yes, it’s fun to meet up with others who share your passions or attend a workshop, but why wait? We don’t expect our students to wait when we want them to learn something new. You don’t know it? Jump in and test the waters. You’re afraid, and it’s time to put that fear to rest!

Your learning is never done. There’s always something to improve upon, some new technique or tool to pick up, some new mindset that provokes your curiosity and sets your motivation on fire. Embrace this and keep learning. Track your learning with a digital portfolio. Share your growth and show your successes and failures. We must continue the learning cycle, and make sure our students do as well.

Set your desire to learn on fire, and you’ll kindle theirs, too!

Telling the BETTER EduStory: Evaluations vs. Digital Portfolios

(Before I get too far into this blog post, I want to make it very clear right away that this post is not advocating for doing away with evaluations of any type, student or teacher. It is, however, advocating for them, but with a heavy emphasis on a digital portfolio.)

Raise your hand if you received an evaluation this year? Raise your hand if you had multiples? What about multiple evaluations that culminated in an end of year overall evaluation.

What can you tell me about you as an educator based on your evaluation? Sure you can tell me you scored 2s or 4s in an area. You might say “I got a 3 on professional development. It means I’m proficient.” Someone else might look at their evaluation and say “Well my evaluator told me I had got a 2 in the area of instructional goals because I made an inconsistent effort to include the standards in my lesson plans.”

Does the above describe you? I mean, really describe you as an educator. Does it provide explicit details about your activities, your thoughts, and your learning throughout the year? Does it showcase the work with students and how you personalized learning? Would the above even mean the same thing to an evaluator in another district?

Chances are, you said no to the above questions, just as you’d say no to the end of year state exams describing any of your students. Evaluations are merely pinpricks of time, dots on the school year. They give tiny snapshots and glimpses of work, but they never tell a full and detailed story. They don’t showcase the learning and growth that has truly happened, unless you want to play by numbers alone. That would be foolish.

Some of you have been reading for awhile. You’ve seen my work here and on my Twitter feed, @tisinaction. I have been sharing actively for a few years now. This year I was in a district where I was actually given an evaluation for my position. It was the only one I received all year that would go into my file. There actually wasn’t a suitable evaluation form for an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher, so the form for Instructional Support Personnel was used instead. Let me show you my evaluation:

Yes, I shared my evaluation with you. Do you know much about what I did this school year? Does it talk about my explorations and learning as I researched professional development? Does it talk about my travels to different trainings, conferences, and workshops? Does it talk about my connected educator status and how I use Twitter and my blog to showcase my learning and work? It does not. There is so much that this evaluation does not show. Based on this alone, you’d have no idea if I was any good or not at my job unless you went by these arbitrary numbers. You would have no idea of the things I could bring to your district, or even if I was the right fit. You’re only getting a tiny, microscopic summary of my educational work!

If anyone really wanted to see my growth and learning, I’d invite them to this blog and my Twitter feed. My blog posts are also shared on my Facebook feed, and always made public to the world. I want you to see them. If you’re an administrator and you stumble on my page, that’s the first thing I want you to see. I want you to see how I came to develop FlucoTECH. I want you to see how I taught Minecraft to rising 1st and 2nd graders. I want you to see the things I saw and learned at VSTE, Copenhaver Institute, and 2 different edcamps this year. You want to see my work leading new initiatives? Check out my work on school branding! Oh what about my commitment to continually learning? Look at the book reflections I’ve written and the Twitter edchats I’ve participated in. The list goes on and on…

The point is, my real story is not going to be found in my evaluation, but in how I have shared online with my colleagues and the educational community at large. If you really want to take a look at my growth and learning, this work is where you’ll find your answers, not in an arbitrary 3 on a piece of paper.

This is why teachers should create a digital portfolio. How they choose to share their work is up to them, but they should be sharing. Share your successes, your fails, your learning. Create a video, write a blog, take a picture and caption it. Just start sharing. You may never be famous or have many people view it, but it is there to document your educator journey, and that cannot be replicated by anyone else.

When teachers realize the importance of the digital portfolio for telling their stories, then they can have students do the same. The portfolio should be ongoing, never ending. Students should be able to contribute to this portfolio often, not only a few times a year. They should share their school items and have a chance to showcase some of their passions and interests. They should have times where they can choose how to share their stories. What would make more sense to parents? A piece of paper with a list of words read aloud during an oral reading session, or three separate videos that showcase the oral readings instead?

When it comes time for conferences, students can choose their best works from their digital portfolios to have showcased. They can use a website such as Storify, or even create a post in their blog that links to their best works. There are many ways.

If one were to go even further, a teacher could easily use the digital porfolios to learn more about students that might be in his or her classroom in the fall. The portfolio gives a better overall picture of the student, instead of just the test scores that get passed on. Teachers would be able to begin figuring out ways to connect with the incoming students before they even arrive!

If you’ve never tried a digital portfolio, now is the time to get started. There’s no reason not to have one in this day and age of being connected. Learn to use it for yourself, model for students, and then have students utilize. It will change the way you look at being evaluated!

#IMMOOC: 8 Things to Look for in Today’s PD

In his book, the Innovator’s Mindset, George Couros takes the “8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classroom” and tweaks it to align with professional development instead.

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Words by George Couros, illustrations by Sylvia Duckworth

I’m sure we can think of classrooms that are working toward infusing these ideas, and classrooms where these ideas are the furthest thoughts away from the teachers. Professional development is the same way, and there needs to be a shift in how it is given to staff members.

In my own district, I am of the minority when it comes to learning and expanding my knowledge as needed, especially when I start using Twitter. In fact, I recently received notifications from my administration alerting me to the professional development they would like to have provided to staff members for the upcoming beginning days sessions. I will work with another ITRT to present on these topics. The change in how PD was being provided at the beginning of the year was decided on by administration after we ITRTs had left for summer obligations, so we had no say.

What is wrong with this kind of PD? Easy. It is often a one time thing. The beginning of the year professional development is required so the staff must attend. Even if we offer follow up sessions throughout the year (which we do), they are not well attended. The staff that like the initial PD will use it, the rest will ignore it, especially if it’s not watched for by administration. Since the PD is mandatory, it’s made to be a one-size-fits-all session. This whole setup is a setup for failure, and one I don’t like because it wastes my time, and it wastes the staff time.

So how might this type of PD change in my district in the future? That’s where the 8 things comes into play. See a problem, find a solution to the problem, right? Here’s how I see the 8 things being used to change professional development in Fluvanna County:

  1. Voice- Educators want students to own their learning. The same should be expected of them at PD sessions. Just because the presenter is at the front of the room does not mean that they are the only expert in the room. Share thoughts and ideas. Use tools that can get others involved throughout the sessions.If you’ve ever been to an edcamp, you know that sessions are led by everyone in the room. If someone has something to share, they speak up and share. It’s a gathering of ideas, resources, and stories. There is no one leader. There is no one expert. Everyone has a voice and everyone has a say. Lecture has its place in the world, but it shouldn’t be at every PD session ever held.
  2. Choice- When is the last time that you had a say in your professional development? Never? Typically, there are two reasons why- You only let your district provide your PD options OR your district doesn’t count your own learning methods as PD.If you are the first reason, then it’s time for you to take control of your learning. Not every district is ready for choice just yet, though this is not a conversation we should be having in this day and age. If you want something, ask! From my own viewpoint, I love when teachers ask me for professional development. I am willing and able to make it fit their needs and wants. I believe I need to make that even clearer this year though. Last year was my learning year…this year there’s not an excuse.

    If you find yourself falling into reason number 2, it’s time to reevaluate your feelings on professional development. Are you only doing it to earn recertification points, or are you doing it to better yourself and your students? If you want the points, it’s time to turn that extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation. Yes, we cannot be motivated by every PD session we attend, but do we need someone dangling a reward in our faces? If that’s the case, then why do we act baffled when students do the same? “Is this a grade?” is to students on an assignment what “How many points will I get?” is to educators on professional development. We don’t like our students doing this, so why is it okay for us as educators to do the same?

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  3. Time for Reflection-  This ties in heavily with self-assessment later, but how many times does a professional development session allow for reflection on knowledge learned? Do you find this is often on an evaluation sheet about the session itself? “Gee, let me just BS this answer here so I can be done and out the door.” We’ve all been there before. This kind of reflection helps no one.Instead, PD can and should provide times throughout the session to reflect and connect with others, and not just through written word. Use pictures and video to shake things up a bit. Give attendees time to think and then let them respond. A good video tool for this process would be Flipgrid. Twitter can be used, and so can Padlet. Want to have a back channel chat running? Then TodaysMeet might be more your style. Each tool lets users reflect beyond traditional responses.
  4. Opportunities for Innovation- Teachers cannot learn everything there is to know about a product, tool, or method in one PD session. It doesn’t matter how long the session is, or how many interesting tips are shared, we are not sponges that automatically absorb everything. These beginning sessions only help us scratch the surface of what we can do with the tool.Instead, teachers need time to come together and create. They need time to work with the information given to them to see how it can be adapted to their own classrooms and needs. This time should not be provided during the initial session itself. Teachers are just starting to absorb the information. They have not had time to reflect and think about the learning that took place. However, time given in a few weeks to create and come together would be more beneficial. During this time, educators can create and share their work with their colleagues so that more ideas and creativity can be sparked.
  5. Critical Thinkers- Time and time again, we tell our students to critically think and evaluate information. They have 24 hour access (for many) and must be able to evaluate on the fly. Educators must be able to do the same. They need to feel that they have a space to push the boundaries of thinking, and to suggest new ideas. They need a space to question and challenge others, and where others can do the same to them.Educators should be able to challenge the way things “have always been done”. It doesn’t have to be that way, and it doesn’t have to be only administration who tries to change the status quo. Of course, to be able to do this requires a good relationship between administration and staff, and the willingness to look beyond titles and rank for the good of the school community.
  6. Problem Solvers/Finders- One of the marks of an innovator is the ability to find problems and find solutions to them. Ever been in the teacher’s lounge during lunch? It’s a nightmare to those who are above the negativity. I have dealt with this because my office at the high school is tied to the teacher lunch area. The negativity is overwhelming, and so I often escape to the library to get away from it. Those folks can certainly FIND problems, but they have no interest in solving them. Thus, the cycle continues daily.Instead of simply complaining, recognize there is a problem and then begin working on ways to solve it. This can be done through PD, though it may not be traditional to many. Research. Find literature and books that can help with new methods. We can create a better environment for our students, if we are willing to try to solve the issues that arise in front of us. Ask questions, learn new knowledge, try new solutions, reflection, and keep trying. You can improve the opportunities for students if only you are willing to try.
  7. Self-Assessment- Do you only rely evaluations from your superior or administration to tell you how you’re doing? Stop that! I get one evaluation per year. Just 1! Truly that could make or break me (thankfully I do well typically).Relying on only that one or few times a year evaluation doesn’t provide a full snap-shot of who one is as an educator. Think about the year state exams we put students through. We don’t let that define our students, so why define ourselves that way.

    Professional development should allow time for attendees to reflect. This reflection doesn’t have to occur right away, but it should occur shortly after the presentation. An easy way to do this is by keeping a digital portfolio. There are many ways to do this. One can use a Twitter account to share snippets or short videos. Over time, these snippets build up, and give a better look at any educator than an evaluation could. Another way is through blogging. A blog could host longer videos, resources, ideas, etc. The posts don’t have to be long, but they showcase the sharing and reflection process the educator goes through while learning.

  8. Connected Learning- Learning alone is fun, but learning together with others can have an even bigger impact. Twitter is an amazing way to connect with other educators on the topics and ideas one is most passionate about. Resources are shared, ideas gathered and discussed, and learning reflected upon. It may be hard to get into the habit at first, but in time, it pays off. Teachers can share ideas they’ve learned at PD sessions and get feedback from others who may not have been there at all. Discussions can be prompted by the simplest of ideas on Twitter.Got a question to ask Google? Ask it on your Twitter feed as well, and use tags to get input from certain groups of people. Share snapshots of things you are doing. Use it to take notes at a conference that get shared with the world (These are great to refer back to later on). It may seem like you are small and have very few connections at first, but if you work hard to give and share ideas, your network slowly grows. I’ve been dedicated to growing mine for about 3 years now, and it has paid off.

How would your district stack up? What are some of the things you would change about PD where you are?

#IMMOOC: Open Sharing

Chapter 11 happened to focus on one of my favorite topics: sharing as an educator. I am always trying to get educators to see the power of online sharing and finding new ideas. I’ve already had the idea to try and get more educators using Twitter to seek ideas, even if they aren’t comfortable sharing their own work yet. I want them to see that the possibility of find new ideas is out there, and easily accessible.

When I first began teaching in 2009, I had no idea of the world out there that awaited me as an educator in terms of connections online. I was tech-savvy, but I didn’t know about the way that connections could have helped me as a first year teacher. It wasn’t something that was prominent back then, and it certainly wasn’t part of my course of study as an undergrad.

I joined Twitter in 2012. I can’t remember exactly why I did. I knew that I used that year to share my class’s stories on Twitter. I didn’t really interact with anyone else. It was a place where I could showcase student learning to parents. It’s been nearly 5 years since that time…and I didn’t start really using Twitter until after I became part of the TIS program. Now I couldn’t see myself doing without it.

Twitter only got better with Tweetdeck. My lists were so easy to read! What was this? I could follow hashtags and have lists of those! I made new connections and met those people at conferences and trainings. I found ideas and articles that changed my way of thinking and gave me new ideas.

If I had had all of this back when I first started teaching, I am sure I would have been an even better teacher. I wouldn’t have felt so isolated in my district. I would have been able to see out others to collaborate and connect with much earlier to reach beyond the sphere of influence in my small town world.

Today’s educators have access to all of this from the start, and yet they choose to ignore the benefits that they could find by connecting in the online world. It is a choice today to choose to stay disconnected. While that is up to each educator, they are making a clear choice to stay in a bubbled world. They are depriving themselves and their students of the ideas, connections, and collaboration that could be found online, if not through Twitter, then through some other means.

In the same sense, educators choose not to share their stories. They feel that they have nothing to share or contribute, or their work is not great. In this age of viral videos and news, it’s hard to feel like a simple lesson would wow the rest of the education world. And it won’t. Not everything that is shared will be the next best thing. However, each little story and idea contributes to a digital portfolio of the educator. Over time, over many years a story of growth and change emerges. We don’t have to say that we have spent time learning and trying many new ideas because our online footprint easily showcases that.

Want to show students the power of a digital portfolio? Show them yours. Model how you have created your portfolio, and let it be the springboard for theirs. Explain how it has provided you opportunities and experiences that weren’t possible before. Technically, I have two- my Twitter feed and this blog. If you go between both, you’ll get a pretty good idea of who I am as an educator, much more than if you had read only my evaluation from this year.

My growth and change is ongoing and always a progress. Yours is too. You share and I’ll share, and together, we only made the online world of educator a better place.

#IMMOOC: Less is More

This particular blog encompasses Chapters 10. It gave me a lot to think about, and some of it seems to contradict other things I’ve heard before. However, all kinds of viewpoints are helpful when figuring out one’s own way.

Districts often push for new initiatives and new tools. Often these ideas are added onto other things, or something else is dropped for the latest and greatest thing. Using tools doesn’t often last more than a year or so in many cases. It’s an ever changing game, and teachers are left feeling overwhelmed. As a district, we need to select our top 3 tools that we plan to use, and then the others can fall in around. These would be the 3 tools that every teacher should know and have access to use, as well as be trained on. It would then be on the ITRT to help train teachers in these areas.

At the same time, teachers should not be tied to only the three selected tools (or whatever each district selects). I often hear from teachers that they have no idea what’s really out there, so they don’t know what to request when it comes to professional development. I have developed a way to give teachers a taste of what’s out there through my new Fluco Toolbox series. This is meant to give brief overviews of new tools that teachers may or may not have heard of. They certainly are not expected to use these tools, but if they see something they like in the brief overview, then by all means, explore and use as seen fit.

When I think of my own district and the 3 possible tools that are being pushed, I think of:

  • G-Suite (including Google Classroom)
  • Chromebooks

I don’t really have a 3rd right now. I would have said Promethean boards/Classflow, but our high school does not yet have these tools. If we were to exclude the high school, then yes, it would certainly be my third choice. Thinking of this, I should probably consider offering a lot of professional development around these tools, but doing more than just the drive by overview. Overviews are great….until you’ve heard them multiple times. Then they just suck.

I loved Couros’ reference to Bernajean Porter’s levels of use with educational technology. For those unfamiliar they are:

  • literate: I can manipulate the device
  • adaptive: I can do traditional paper and pencil things with the device
  • transformative: I’m doing things that weren’t possible before

In some ways, it also reminds me of SAMR, but is a lot simpler in terms of the up and down. To me it seems like everyone needs to move beyond the literate and into adaptive/transformative. Not everything we do can be transformative, as there are times we need to do adaptive tasks, but we should be able to switch back and forth between the two comfortably, knowing when each is suitable.

Based on my reading this time, it seems like Fluco Toolbox will be the least invasive way to introduce new tools to teachers so that they know what is out there. They can read, review, and if they want to do more with it, great. They certainly won’t be expected to get it in their classrooms or to use it if they don’t want to do so.

In my own world, I need to focus on developing training on GSuite and Chromebooks that goes beyond the overview drive by introductions. This will take some time to work through, as I would need to figure out how to approach it, but I’m certain I can find some sources to get me started.

Needless to say, I’ve already made some notes to myself on my Note Board app, so I’m excited to see where my research will take me!

#IMMOOC: Standardized to Personalized Staff Learning

Some of you know I started participating in George Couros’ IMMOOC on The Innovator’s Mindset last fall. I stopped before it was finished because things just got too crazy and I couldn’t keep up. I am determined to finish the book now though and so I’ve been working my way through part 3. I just finished Chapter 9, and one of the discussion questions jumped out at me:

How do you move from “standardized” to “personalized” learning for your students and staff?

I knew that I had to answer this question because it is one that has been bothering me since around December of this past year. I kept trying to figure out ways to do professional development differently because our model wasn’t working. I began learning that no one had the correct answer, but that different groups were making progress and trying to do what was best for their staff.

As I learned more, I began developing FlucoTECH. It’s still ever evolving and I’m still working on the details, but I have the basics of the current version down now. I think that it’s off to a pretty good start, so I’m willing to share the proposal I’ve written up for the program here:

FlucoTECH is a professional development system that features 3 levels of differentiated learning for teachers. Just like students, teachers need to have their professional learning differentiated to meet their own needs. One size fits all no longer works for these teachers, and it is one of the least successful methods. Traditional PD hasn’t really changed, even though we expect our educators to change with the times.

In a traditional professional development session, teachers are typically mandated to attend. Session sizes can bloom to very large numbers. All teachers receive the same information at the same time, regardless of what they already know. Sessions are presented in a “sit and get fashion”. During the training, teachers may find themselves doing other things instead of listening to the presentation. The information is thrown at them in large amounts, and there is little to no follow up on the learning after the session. Many teachers will toss their notes and handouts aside, deciding to do things the way they’ve always done them. For them, the professional development was just another warm body to fill the seats, and (if the training was paid for) a way for the administration to get their money’s worth.

This system is set to fail us time and time again. No matter how many times we get knocked down, it is still the method we turn back to using. This is archaic and WRONG. Something has to give, and that something begins with changing the way professional development is viewed and given.

Professional development should not be sessions here and there on a topic. It should not be a one size fits all, fill all the seats with warm bodies, ordeal. It should not be an information on full blast session, never to be followed up on again. The mindset should not be “If I go to this session I’ll get X amount of points.”

With all of these “nots” what should a professional development session be? A professional development session should be differentiated to meet the needs of its learners. The session should be about giving information in small chunks. If small chunks are not possible, consistent follow up after the session should occur to help guide teachers along the way. The mindset should be “I want to grow and learn in X area, and can’t wait to see what will be taught.”

FlucoTECH (Teachers Exploring, Creating, Hacking) works to bring a new style of professional development to Fluvanna County. It is designed as a tiered system of levels to meet the needs of multiple types of learners. Teachers are able to choose the level that best suits their needs and ability and move forward from there. There are 3 different levels in FlucoTECH that range from bite size sessions with multiple chances for follow-up to self-study sessions that last for a semester.

Level I – Tech Bytes: Level I sessions are offered during the school day for 30 minutes at a time. A topic is selected for the month and sessions are offered on a weekly basis throughout the day to meet teachers’ planning needs. 1 or 2 big objectives are taught during each class. Teachers have time to digest and play around with the new learning before coming to another session. Teachers pick and choose the sessions they attend based on what they already know and want to learn.
Recertification Points: ½ point for every Tech Bytes session

Level II – Solo Tech Bytes: Teacher chooses to complete a self-study on a topic. They meet with the ITRT to determine what they already know, what resources they should look into, and the topics they need to cover. Teacher studies on own, and sets up 1:1 sessions with ITRT as needed. Once teacher has researched and time to practice, they must demonstrate their knowledge to the ITRT. If the topic is determined to be a large and/or more intense one, recertification points may be added to the initial ones.
Recertification Points: 5 points for each Solo Tech Bytes

Level III – Semester Tech Study: ITRT assists teacher in reviewing ISTE-T standards. Teacher selects a standard, develops a SMART goal, and then researches on their own to find ways to implement the goal. They use the ITRT as needed, to help gather resources, to bounce ideas, and to create any kind of implementation plan. Teacher begins working to implement changes based on SMART goal. Teachers ends Semester Tech Study by evaluating the results of their smart goal, and their own growth.
Recertification Points: 20 points for each Semester Tech Study

Each level listed above progressively changes to give the teacher more freedom and choice in their decision-making when it comes to technology. Each level is also designed to meet teachers’ needs in both time and skill level. Teachers are free to move from level to level as they wish. They are not “locked in” to just one level for the entire school year.

With the implementation of FlucoTECH, there would no longer be a need for after school professional development. Staff would be able to complete all professional development during their planning periods or on their on time as they chose to fit it in.

The role of the ITRT varies depending on the level of FlucoTECH. At Level I, the ITRT is designing and implementing the professional development, relying on feedback from those who attend to improve future sessions. At Level II, the ITRT is coaching the teacher to help determine prior knowledge and objectives, as well as evaluating the teacher’s final product. At Level III, the ITRT is reviewing ISTE-T standards with the teacher, helping develop a SMART goal, and assists teacher as needed throughout the research process.

FlucoTECH is a tiered system that differentiates professional development instruction for staff members. Staff members are able to choose the level of instruction that best suits their needs, and can opt to move to other levels at any time during the school year. The ITRT’s role changes depending on the level, and they adapt all learning to the needs of the teachers. Teachers can and will earn recertification points for completing levels, but the points are not the main focus of the program. FlucoTECH aims to help teachers to learn, grow, and change the way professional development is completed in Fluvanna County.

It’s definitely not finalized yet, and I know that even the proposal will change as time moves on and I tweak and redefine things. FlucoTECH does move away from the one size fits all traditional professional development though, and that’s what I love about it most. It has taken a lot of research and learning from others to get this far, and I’m very proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.