How did a mid-sized New York college district clear up a few of its most urgent skilled improvement (PD) points with one instrument? It took teamwork, perspective sharing and a widely-adopted PD platform.
Dr. Don Murphy, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology at Hauppauge Public Schools, which serves nearly 4,000 college students, says his district confronted the identical struggles as many others. It was robust to search out time slots that work with lecturers’ schedules and area to accommodate PD classes. Then there have been the prices: journey and meal bills for offsite conferences, substitute lecturers and the value of the particular coaching classes themselves.
But with SMART Boards in nearly each classroom, one-to-one iPad packages in grades Four via eight and the district’s funding in Google’s ecosystem of classroom instruments, digital literacy abilities had been turning into more and more essential for Hauppauge lecturers.
When on-line skilled improvement got here up as an choice, Murphy’s preliminary response was, “This is awesome. We should just do this!” But understanding educators usually cringe at one more top-down directive from “the district,” he determined to create a working group—together with himself, the director of know-how (Dr. Tim McCarthy), lecturers and their union president—to look at the concept in larger element.
Through their work, Murphy and his group found that on-line studying solved a lot of their PD challenges, and allowed them to rapidly construct capability for distant studying. So, they looked for suppliers and in the end selected OTIS for Educators, a state-approved on-line skilled improvement platform aligned to ISTE requirements. Dr. McCarthy specifically took the lead in working with TEQ (Provider) and their group, establishing our personal video channel inside the platform, and organizing the mandatory collaborative efforts with colleagues.
Here, Murphy shares his distinctive strategy to implementing on-line skilled improvement and the particular challenges it solved for his lecturers and the complete district.
EdSurge: Why was it essential to contain lecturers within the decision-making course of round a transfer to on-line PD?
Murphy: Over my profession, I’ve discovered that taking a top-down strategy to implementation with out acknowledging different views and welcoming key stakeholders results in failure—irrespective of how unbelievable your initiative is.
Any district objective, initiative, or something worthwhile, requires collaboration or partnership.
We discovered about trainer ache factors and what PD would appear like in the event that they may very well be the architects of their very own studying. We heard feedback like, ‘I’d love to simply do it from my very own classroom.’ or ‘It would be incredible if I could do it from home.’ Or, ‘When you keep me after school to do PD, I’m missing my son’s soccer match. I’d love to do it after soccer.’
You learn about their limits around time, logistics and space. And sometimes teachers miss what was said during PD, so it would be great if sessions were recorded so teachers could rewind. Learning these things made it pretty clear that a platform like OTIS would work well for us.
Why was online PD the right approach for Hauppauge teachers and staff?
One of our district goals is to help teachers develop digital literacy skills. When we rolled out OTIS, there was so much positive feedback from teachers about how simple it is to use. After just one course, teachers told us there really isn’t a learning curve. They love that they don’t lose time with their students and can access learning on their own terms.
And it’s teacher-created content; that’s enormous credibility-wise. There’s no better PD than teacher-to-teacher PD.
What does online PD look like at Hauppauge now?
We did a full rollout of OTIS for the 2018-2019 school year, and now we have around 400 teachers and teaching assistants on the platform. That increases to 600 when you add in clerical staff, security guards and custodians who access relevant OTIS content. The partnership with TEQ is funded through the district budget. We are very fortunate in Hauppauge as our Board of Education has always supported our technology and Professional Development initiatives and efforts.
With OTIS, we can provide curated playlists that include district-mandated courses. In the beginning, many of those related to Google and Google Classroom but now include social-emotional learning, working with students with disabilities, working with English language learners and physical education.
We ask teachers to spend at least five of their mandated 25 hours of PD time on the platform, but it could be all 25 hours for some.
Last summer time, we had some lecturers do 50 to 60 programs on OTIS. That is simply superior! That’s one thing we would not have been capable of facilitate with out this platform. It’s so highly effective. And it is benefiting youngsters as a result of now we have got these consultants rising their abilities.
What type of influence has on-line PD had throughout college closures?
We’d already been utilizing OTIS for over a yr with a heavy give attention to Google Classroom, so when colleges closed, we had a standard platform all lecturers had been linked to and aware of. They might rapidly join with their college students, after which we might start constructing on that.
Now lecturers are throughout OTIS due to the fast transfer to distant studying. It’s helped them rapidly rise up to hurry throughout this paradigm shift. Many of them are utilizing OTIS to learn to use instruments like Screencastify, Kami or others. They’re principally studying how you can create digital content material.
Were there any surprising advantages to picking a web based PD platform?
We can create our personal content material. That’s modified the way in which we do enterprise, in small and large methods. For occasion, we wanted to introduce a brand new copier fleet throughout the district, so we created a video and shared it via OTIS.
Also, our lecturers can create content material on their very own time. Of course, we pay them for that, however the fee is lower than having somebody come onsite. And the content material lives ceaselessly, so lecturers can return to it again and again.
We had a center college trainer create a course for incorporating Google Drawings in lesson plans and add it to OTIS. A second grade trainer in one other constructing watched the video and created a unbelievable lesson plan for an commentary. The lecturers had by no means met. These alternatives would by no means occur with out this platform.
With considerate planning and trainer buy-in, Hauppauge was profitable in constructing a PD tradition that was capable of help them within the speedy transfer to distant studying. Their educators now have a powerful know-how basis and the digital literacy to achieve success as they plan for the upcoming college yr.