This quarter, for my Seattle Pacific Digital Education Leadership Master’s Degree coursework, I was asked to develop a proposal for a session or workshop at a professional learning event. I was given free choice for both topic and learning event. It did not take long for me to settle on a topic: digital citizenship. I believe that a strong digital citizenship focus is the foundation of a successful school technology program.
I recently became a Common Sense Education Digital Citizenship Certified Educator, and just a few days ago learned that I will be serving as a Common Sense Education Digital Citizenship Ambassador. Last year, I led a school-based professional development effort to integrate the Common Sense Education Digital Citizenship curriculum into the academic curriculum. For my proposal, I decided to take this professional development idea to the next level: a workshop at the Northwest Council for Computers in Education (NCCE) 2017 Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon, March 22-24, 2017.
As I began to work on my proposal, I became aware that another person in my cohort, Chelsea Christopher, was focusing on digital citizenship for her proposal. Chelsea had also recently become a Common Sense Education Digital Citizenship Certified Educator, as a result of her work with Kindergarten students at her school in Vancouver, Washington. After a brief conversation, we decided to work together on the proposal. Our collaboration, and the future involvement of Becky Putzier (a member of the SPU DEL 2014 cohort), will result in a workshop that will have facilitators who have expertise with teaching digital citizenship at all levels of K-12 education.
Our learning during this quarter focused on ISTE Coaching Standard 3, which provides seven benchmarks for “creat[ing] and support[ing] effective digital age learning environments to maximize the learning of all students” (ISTE 2011). In our proposal document (below), we discuss how our workshop meets the requirements of this digital education coaching standard.
Chelsea and I used Google Hangouts on Air to record a discussion in which we evaluated our workshop according to the ideas outlined in the article “5 Things Teachers Want from Professional Development”:
- Relevant. As with students, teachers’ professional learning needs are rarely one-size-fits-all. “It looks different in every context,” one teacher told us. “It has to be personalized.”
- Interactive. Rather than listening to lectures, teachers want to apply learning through demonstrations or modeling and practice. “The best usually involve hands-on strategies for the teacher to actually participate in,” shared another teacher.
- Delivered by someone who understands their experience. Teachers value learning most when it comes from other teachers. “Anything that a fellow teacher who is still in the classroom [presents] beats out everything else,” one educator said. Another was more pointed about ideal PD opportunities: “Top-down would be gone.”
- Sustained over time. Professional growth is a process, not an hour blocked off on a calendar. “PD needs to be something that you keep working on for a semester or a year,” explained a teacher.
- Treats teachers like professionals. As one teacher told us, “PD should treat us as adults, rather than children.” As obvious as this point is, it doesn’t seem to be reflected in the reality of PD for most teachers—fewer than one in three are highly satisfied with current PD offerings (Johnson 2016).
Our learning this quarter also focused on accessibility standards in digital education, so we added a sixth element to our discussion: How is our workshop and topic addressing accessibility standards? Furthermore, this video discussion features optional accurately transcribed closed-captioning.
On September 29, 2016, we submitted two proposals (2-hour Workshop and 50-Minute Session) to NCCE. In October 2016, we learned that our 2-hour workshop proposal was accepted.
Our workshop was completely booked in advance of the conference. In fact, 40 people waited in line to see if they could be admitted. We had to turn them away, but gave out business cards with a link to our presentation and our contact information. We received excellent feedback from our attendees.
Our workshop has also been accepted to the Washington Library Association (WLA) Annual Conference and the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Conference, both in November 2017.
- Johnson, K. (2016). 5 things teachers want from PD, and how coaching and collaboration can deliver them—If implementation improves. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-06-28-5-things-teachers-want-from-pd-and-how-coaching-and-collaboration-can-deliver-them-if-implementation-improves?utm_content=bufferfa66c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer