In a previous post, I described the need to change Professional Development (PD) for teachers in order to empower them. This is done by re-framing the allotted time that teachers have to research, implement, and share new instructional strategies that lead to positive learner outcomes.
However, communication was going to be a huge piece to Personalized PD. If staff is self-leading their own research, something needs to serve as the communication piece to Instructional Coaches and administrators.
Google Drive for Communication?
We needed something that allowed everyone in the district to collect their research and openly share their findings with everyone else. The district has a Google domain, so we decided this would serve the purpose. Since I’m in the school’s domain, I decided to do the following steps…
- Create a folder for PD only.
- Share only in the district. There’s no need to have anyone outside the district access this folder. This also means anyone with access to the folder can access all of its subfolders and files.
- Create two folders: 1 for MS and 1 for HS.
- Create a folder for each teacher.
The following playlist of tutorial videos I made for the teachers on the PD website should also help visualize and explain the organization and purpose of the utilizing Google Drive. They also show teachers how to take Google Files from the website and organize them into the PD folder.
Why Google Drive?
The beauty of using Google Drive within the domain is so the entire PD folder is searchable. If a teacher completes their first journey, say in infusing Digital Citizenship practices with curriculum, and now they are interested in moving towards Blended Learning, they could simply type in the search box within Google Drive “Blended Learning,” and they will see other folders that teachers have started and maybe even begin collaborating with them. This includes teachers in different buildings within the district – teachers who may not have had the opportunity to collaborate before moving to Personalized PD.
One Minor Bump, However…
If two teachers are working together, they will most likely be working from one folder rather than both. If both Teacher A and Teacher B are working from Teacher A’s folder, it looks like Teacher B is not taking any initiative. However, once the Camp is complete, Teacher B can just make a copy to their own folder.
We haven’t found an easier method, but I welcome any suggestions.
A Living Digital Portfolio…
Another huge benefit of using Google Drive is each teacher is creating a digital portfolio, and they may not even know it until they have a site visit from the state. In Camp 3, the reflection camp, teachers are to at least identify the Iowa Teaching Standards that they have addressed in the process. Some are surprised by how many they actually address. However, if this is at least noted within the Camp 3 folder, then the district should have everything they need for the site visit.
The communication piece may look different from one district to the next, but having something in place is crucial. If teachers go to all the work without having their work noticed, then they lose motivation.
In Pt. 3, I will discuss methods that are being used to drive intrinsic motivation in order to build sustainability.