CCSS: They use technology and digital media strategically and capably.
Unless students and educators are exposed to digital tools, how will they make decisions about the strategic use of these tools? Play in a sandbox.
Play in a sandbox?
Teachers are smart; that’s why they are teachers. They are also busy. Part of your PD strategy needs to include building a sandbox.
At what point did we decide that every moment of professional development must include an expert standing in front of the room talking? Who decided that we must focus on one tool? Suppose your PD is focusing on collaboration as a skill, invite your teachers to a day of play. Take 5 minutes to introduce a collaboration tool. Then take another 5 minutes to introduce a second one. After you’ve introduced a few, give them the chance to play. Require them to collaborate with each other to share how they could use this tool professionally, personally, and with their students. Then, give them the time to do it. Build an online collaborative workspace where they will share their work with the other teachers at the conclusion of the day.
Pennsylvania is filled with wikis. Teachers have been using wikis for at least 6 years now. When CFF Coaches introduced the wiki concept to students, most of the kids had never used a wiki. The same is true for Google Docs. The ins and outs of these tools come naturally to our students, once they are exposed to them. Then, once exposed, they need to be given the freedom to choose the right tool for the job. If they are expert in using one movie making tool, then why are we forcing them to use another? The tool doesn’t matter. It’s what students do with it that matters.
If a student knows how to use a tool more effectively and efficiently than you or another student, take advantage of that knowledge. Encourage them to share. There is so much out there; none of us can be expected to be experts in everything. It’s about using the right tool at the right time to effectively and creatively communicate your message or to critically analyze the problem to be solved.
It's about being strategic and capable.