5 Tips and Tools for Flipping Professional Development
Flipping the classroom has grown exponentially, but the concept of flipping is beneficial for teachers as well. Flipping professional development can be extremely advantageous for teachers who can learn at their own pace as opposed to learning what everyone is learning in your typical in-person PD session—a one-time workshop, for example. Flipping professional development creates more engagement with teachers and can increase the amount of participation. Keep reading to find out several tips for flipping PD in your school or district.
Assign Department Facilitators
Within each department or grade level, it’s beneficial to have one teacher who is a technology facilitator. This person can check in with people in their department to determine the concerns and needs, as well as communicate with technology directors and administration.
It’s a great idea to have someone available in each department that others can speak with regarding technology in their classrooms because he or she has built a relationship with other teachers in his or her department, so it can be less daunting for others to reach out and ask questions. This department technology facilitator is also someone who knows the content, so the facilitator can approach each issue or question with the content in mind.
Determine How to Distribute
Video is the typical format for flipped PD, so now the decision is how to give teachers access to the videos. If the school is already using an LMS, go ahead and use it. The LMS doesn’t have to be just for students. The wonderful perk of an LMS is that courses can be created that take teachers through the material with multiple videos, interactive worksheets, and quizzes.
Not every school uses an LMS, so some other options for sharing video content include Google Drive and YouTube. Both are accessible by everyone. YouTube is especially great when you’re not creating your own content. It has vast numbers of videos that have already been created for you. Google Drive and YouTube both are also excellent choices if you’re collaborating with another school district. When modeling another school’s ideas, work with that school to create video content that contributes to teacher learning in your own school.
Select Appropriate Content
When considering which content to use for professional development, think about the audience and the needs of the school or district. First, think about creating video training for items all staff need to know regarding how the school runs or even how to manage digital tools everyone uses. Videos could be created over how to use the gradebook, how to create an assignment using the learning management system (LMS), or how to create a digital assessment on the LMS.
Videos could also be created on a more individual level. When looking around the school, many different teachers are experts in different areas. Give a survey to teachers asking what they would like to learn and how the technology department can help. Then, work with teachers to create specific content based on that survey. There could be videos on technology and different tech tools that teachers run within their classrooms. Videos could even be created for normal teaching methods, such as how to run literature circles, how to flip a classroom, or classroom management strategies.
Teacher’s comfort levels may depend on how long they’ve been teaching and how comfortable they are using more technology. Create video content to address the needs of everyone, and you’ll have beneficial and worthwhile professional development in the works.
Proof that teachers have completed PD is always a good idea—and often required. Teachers can use these certificates to earn professional growth points towards renewing their teaching licenses. Certificates can be created either on paper or digitally. They can even be printed or badges could be created. Imagine walking down the hall and seeing badges hanging outside each teacher’s classroom. These would show what they know and who to ask for help. A list of those who have mastered the content can also be created so that if a teacher has a question about a certain piece of technology or how to do something within the classroom, they can easily find an expert in that area for help.
Don’t Skip the Follow Up
Always follow up with teachers when flipping professional development. After checking in with teachers to see how they can be helped, don’t forget to follow that up with a face-to-face conversation. It shows that you value the teacher and their concerns. Consider figuring out what teachers need help with before the normal PD meeting, and then bring something to the table at PD to address those needs. Make sure teachers feel comfortable with new technology tools and are doing okay in their classrooms.
Remember that schools are communities. Work together as a community to improve your professional development by creating relevant content for teachers.
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