technology training

EdtechRVA Recap: Bite-Sized Professional Development

I’m back again with another EdtechRVA recap! My previous post focused on Getting Interactive with Google Apps, which I highly recommend that you check out if you are a GSuite school! Now onto another session that I thoroughly loved- Bite Sized Professional Development: What Busy Teachers Need for Success. If you are in a position where you must provide professional development to teachers, you know that often it can be hard to find something that “works” for your district. The bad news is that based on all of the different PD sessions I’ve attended at conferences, NO ONE has the right answer to how to make professional development better. Different districts have found methods that work for them, but they are also not a magic band-aid to get high numbers of staff through the doors. Each solution still boasts a low number of attendees in comparison to the number of total staff in the district or school. However, that doesn’t stop these folks from continuing to make headway and find ways to get more professional development to their staff. You certainly shouldn’t quit either. Take the risk and try new things, even if others discourage you based on past experience.

Our presenter this round was Diana Campbell. You can find her on Twitter as well- @dlcamp007. Definitely check her out, especially if you’d like to start conversations on professional development and bounce ideas. Did I mention in previous posts how much I love promoting Twitter?

The session began with a simple poll on PollEverywhere. It focused on the frustrations that teachers faced with PD, and as attendees answered, a word cloud was generated. See for yourself:


Image credit: Althea Hudson (@altheadespina)

If you’re like me, this word cloud was not something unfamiliar. We’ve seen all of those reasons before. We’ve heard the stories from staff members. We’ve even experienced these ourselves when we attend PD for training. So what is another solution?

Campbell suggested bite-size PD instruction- PD that lasts for only 15-30 minutes and covers one or two items on a topic matter. Take Google Classroom for instance, as a PD instructor, this topic is huge and takes a long time to cover. To actually give a full session on everything takes at least 2 hours. However, in that 2 hours, attendees will experience a brain overload explosion. They will take in so much information that it will overwhelm them and by the time they get back to their classrooms they won’t know where to begin.

Bite-size PD works to avoid that. It is based around research that shows that we can only take in so much information for so long before time is needed to process and work through the new information. Without that time, much of the new information will be lost and forgotten by the time the teacher returns to the classroom. The research also reminded us that we implement this type of practice with our own students, but often we don’t with adults. Though we learn about differentiation for our students, as adults, there’s typically only one size fits all when it comes to professional development sessions.

Based on this, Campbell presented a PD model for bite-sized PD. From my understanding, here are 7 steps to implementing this particular model with any tool:

  1. Demonstrate the tool in action OR if doing a follow-up session review material from previous one.
  2. Explain the benefits/positives of the tool
  3. Explain potential issues and possible solutions
  4. Show 1 or 2 items to get attendees started with the tool
  5. Ask for ideas on how it might be implemented in their classroom
  6. Instructor provides ideas on how to use in classroom
  7. Call for questions

After implementation of the first round, make sure to follow up in a timely fashion. Try jumping from a week to week basis or every other week. Either way, don’t let it go so long that attendees forget what they learned in the first session. Make sure attendees are also aware that they can work 1:1 with the instructor if they feel they need even further instruction.

Once Campbell finished providing the research and her solution, she then showcased her model in action. To me, this was the best part. It’s one thing to simply tell about a PD model, but it’s another thing to implement it entirely. PollEverywhere was her example, and in 15 minutes, she had shown us the tool and the most basic use for it. If she were giving it as an actual professional development session, she would then follow up with another session in another week or so to review the concepts from the first session, and then add one or two more uses to the first. The cycle would continue until she had thoroughly explained the tool.

If you have a chance to see Campbell present this session, definitely attend because if nothing else it will get your gears spinning. It certainly did mine, and I’m ready to redesign the way I do PD at both of my schools for next year. Thanks to Campbell, I have a way to improve and hopefully my staff will find it more to their liking as well.

HyperDoc Resource: Google Classroom PD

This is the hyperdoc I mentioned in my previous post on failing. It’s okay though because I fixed it and am now ready to share it with others who offer professional development to staff.

Name: Creating the Right Google Classroom for Your Class
Description: This hyperdoc is done with the Hero’s Journey template. It encourages teachers to explore first, and the mentor section is a demonstration that teachers can follow along with. Teachers have the chance to set up their classroom and have access to resources on ways to use it right away.

I have added two sections to this template. The first is a Reflection piece, where I have space for a survey to be inserted. The second is Hero’s Backpack, which was a space where I added more video resources for participants to refer back to after the session has ended. This was a request from my staff. If you feel that one or both of these sections do not suit your needs, feel free to remove them.

The only link that you will need to insert is a link to your own Padlet. This section is clearly marked in the document. You will also want to change the wording of parts of the document that refer to ITRTs. These are our tech resource folks. Please fill in with whatever role assists teachers with technology.

This hyperdoc session can be done in 2 separate class sessions of 1 hour each, or as one 2 hour long session. It cannot be completed in 1 hour.

Download Here

Feedback is appreciated. @tisinaction on Twitter or comment here!


HyperDoc Resource: SAMR PD

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a resource, so here’s the first one for this year. I’ve been working on learning about HyperDocs and making my own. I have the HyperDoc Handbook, and I’ve been referring to that to help guide me through this. Some people have told me that HyperDocs can be used for professional development sessions, so I thought I’d give it a try. I took a SAMR professional development I’d recently taught, and tweaked it to fit the HyperDoc style.

I have already shared this file to the TeachersGiveTeachers site, but I want to make sure I share it here as well.

Name: Level Up! With SAMR
Description: This HyperDoc is applicable to those who provide professional development to staff members. It focuses on an introduction to the SAMR method, and provides staff a chance to create a lesson integrating SAMR. The original includes an application piece with Padlet and a link to the survey that we always give our staff at the end. Please replace these with your own links.
Download Here

Feedback is much appreciated!

Spring TIS Regionals Overview

As I sit here and write this post, I can’t help but to feel a bit sad. This past week I attended my last TIS Regionals meeting, most likely for good. TIS Regionals are held twice a year in West Virginia, and each of the RESA regions hosts one. My district is part of RESA 8. I started attending TIS Regionals last spring after I found out about them. They aren’t only open to technology integration specialists (TISs), but to any educator who wants to attend and receive technology training and updates. Typically this is one of the first places new movements soon to occur in West Virginia related to technology are announced.

This spring, the meeting was held at the West Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in the basement of Seaton Hall. I walked in to find we had a nice group assembled, and quite a few familiar faces. I settled myself in and set up my Surface Pro 3. While doing this, we were each given a packet of Legos. Ours must have been based on a Halloween theme, as each bag had witches hats and white cats.

To start the meeting off, we were instructed to use the Legos to build something that was a favorite of ours. It was up to us to figure out what we wanted to do. All we knew was that after everyone had finished their build, we would share our work. I ended up creating a exploration scene from Minecraft as best I could. As I worked, I talked to my neighbors. One came in late, and opted to merely observe everyone else building, but my other neighbor was finding a way to show the death to spiders that had come in the kit.


My Minecraft exploration scene. It’s supposed to be a cave underground. I have found spiders… unfortunately my ax isn’t going to cut it!


Robin’s (@themfoxes on Twitter) spiders roasting scene. She and a friend are eating ice cream in celebration.

I believe we spent about 20 minutes building, using part of the time to let stragglers settle in. Then we each went around and talked about what we had made. Some people made family oriented scenes. Others made hobby-based ones. Every single presenter talked for at least a minute about what they had created, and described extra little details. The goal was to show us that Legos make great story starter prompts, or ice breaker ideas. Instead of just having a student tell their favorite thing (often a one word answer), they build it with some Legos. Ideally they will delve into their design, providing details to their classmates that they would not have otherwise.

Once everyone had presented, we were relaxed and ready to tackle the session. Our first presenter was Margaret Miller from West Virginia Public Broadcasting. She wanted to share resources with us from WVPB. Her first goal was to showcase some of the upcoming events on the WV site. You can check it out:

Her main goal, however, was to demonstrate the educational value of PBSLearningMedia. Myself, I had never heard of the website, but I was surprised at how much could be found there. We took a look at the West Virginia-based site, but there are sites for different states. We were also told that if we wanted to also join another state’s site, then we would have to sign up with a different email address and the zip code of a school in that state.

Here’s the link to WV’s site

Pictured above are some news and content related items, some meant only for WV.

PBS Learning Media has some great resources for teachers. In addition to supplements that can be used for classroom lesson plans, there are also actual lesson plans to be found. Once an account has been created, users can search by subject and national standard, but NOT by WV standard. Still, much of the Common Core stuff aligns to what WV has done in the past, even though we are now moving on to a different set of standards.

We were cautioned when doing a search for any particular material: if you see something you like, favorite it so that it’s saved to your account, otherwise you may not see it again. This is because PBS does their search differently. Every time you search the same topic, STEM, for example, the results are returned in a mixed up order. This is so that a variety of sources are seen, and there aren’t any “favorites’ being shown first.

A sample image of what the screen looks like during a search. Note that you can filter results on the left side.

Teachers can easily take the items they have favorited and place them in folders later on. I sorted through most of what I favorited and created folders based on the topic. A lot of it I plan to go back through later on when I have more time to explore each resource.

The final section of the site we took a look at was the Tools section. There are a few options here- Lesson Builder, Quiz Maker, Storyboard, and Puzzle Maker. Since we only had so much time, we were walked through Storyboard, and then instructed to create one for any topic we might use in the classroom. I chose to focus on the engineering design process, and created a storyboard that used images and video footage from the site, as well as questions of my own design. Here’s an image of the storyboard I created:

We took a break for lunch at this point, and I went out with a few colleagues. Upon returning for the afternoon session, Jason Jackson took over to present on Common Sense Media. For anyone who doesn’t know, Common Sense Media is a website that can serve a great purpose inside the classroom or out. On the main website, parents can find ratings for movies, games, TV shows, and more. West Virginia uses the lessons on the education side to meet E-Rate compliance. Common Sense Media also has Graphite, a website for teachers to find reviews on websites and apps for the classroom. Everything is reviewed by teachers, which makes finding new resources a lot easier. Not only that, but teachers can also find lesson plans that incorporate a variety of tools and apps in one lesson. Again, these are created by teachers for teachers.

Jason Jackson presenting on Common Sense Media

Teachers can also become Graphite certified by completing a series of tasks. The best part is that once a teacher completes the initial task, they then get paid to complete more tasks. I am Graphite certified, and this year I am hoping to write up a series of lesson plans to get the most bang for my buck. I can earn up to $300 just by writing them… aka $50 a lesson plan. Not too shabby at all!

The very last task for the day was an update on the LMS that West Virginia is working to create. Valerie Wilson told us as much as she was allowed to. There are currently 4 vendors in the final bidding for the system. It is hoped to have the system in place for next year. One downfall is that each district will have to purchase the system for use. This is a drawback for the districts that are having issues currently with the budget. Hopefully more news and updates will be available at the technology conference this summer.

Valerie discussing the LMS

Before ending any TIS Regional session, there’s always the Smackdown during the last half hour. Attendees share any new resources via a Google spreadsheet, and then are able to discuss them with the group. If you’re curious about some of the resources that have been compiled, check out this link.

Overall, a very good session, and I was glad for the chance to be able to catch up with some colleagues. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to attend anymore, but if you are a West Virginia educator, please do consider attending future sessions! There’s one every Spring and Fall for each RESA. Any educator is invited to attend.

Storify Transcript: Spring TIS Regionals

Last week I attended Spring TIS Regionals for RESA 8 in West Virginia. Any time I attend professional development, I like to keep a running log of tweets during the event to share with my followers, and to have something to look back on at a later time.

The last time I posted a Storify transcript was during the Infusing Technology Spring Showcase. Once I post the transcript for TIS Regionals, I am going to write a longer post that reviews the concepts discussed throughout the day.

Spring TIS Regionals RESA 8 Transcript

Storify Transcript: Infusing Technology Spring Showcase

If you’ve ever seen me post Twitter chat transcripts for different edchats, then what I’ve done using Storify is very similar. The Infusing Technology event used #infusingtechwv as its main hashtag for the event. Storify allows me to search for all uses of that hashtag and gather them into one “story”. I can always add other hashtags or delete ones under this tag that aren’t within the date range I specify.

One of the great benefits of using Storify is that there is always an archived story kept, especially if it’s a common hashtag. I’ve used it for a few things before, such as when my dad ran his first marathon. I tweeted updates and tagged all of them. Then I created a Storify of the event and shared it with him so he could remember his special day.

Perhaps later on I’ll delve into the uses of Storify.

Infusing Technology Spring Showcase Transcript

Infusing Technology Spring Showcase Overview

Today’s showcase was fantastic and a huge thanks to the West Virginia Center for Professional Development (WVCPD) for putting on the Spring Showcase. The Spring Showcase is meant to be an extra day added to the Infusing Technology Academy given in the summer. Participants who attended the summer session can attend this session free of charge. I did not attend the Academy last summer, but I was able to attend this free of charge as well. The goal of the Spring Showcase is for participants to showcase what they’ve done with the technology that they learned about the previous summer. It’s not about learning how to use it in the classroom, although many participants did give an overview of that.

Originally I had planned to make one blog post that detailed the Showcase, but as I look over my notes from the different sessions, I have instead decided to highlight some of the sessions in their own blog posts, as the presenters gave me plenty of information to create some new Teacher Resource posts.

Our opening presentation was given by a fellow Twitter colleague of mine, Derek Oldfield. His session, entitled “Yes, West Virginia, We Do Have Pirates”, focused on the Teach Like a Pirate method created by Dave Burgess. This is a method I’m not unfamiliar with, as Derek often tweets about it. I also have the book on my kindle, but have never read it, even though I’ve had it a few years. If you’ve never heard of Teach Like a Pirate, you should look into it because it gives you a new way to engage your students with your lessons and material. The momentum can be hard to keep up, as even Derek admits, but the results are worth it.

In addition to the 4 different breakout sessions scheduled throughout the day (each with a variety of options for presentations), there was a session scheduled after lunch called Digital Sandbox. Much like games that have the same designation, Digital Sandbox was a time for attendees to visit various tables and learn about some new technology tools that could be integrated into the classroom. With time being so short, there was little chance for the attendees to try the tools out themselves in most cases, but the presenters did a wonderful job giving an overview of the tool and how to acquire one. This session just made me add more tech tools and toys to my wishlist on Amazon. I did have some of the tools already, and I did love hearing how presenters would use them. More information on the Digital Sandbox and the tools presented will come later as well. 

If you’re a West Virginia educator and you’d like to get more involved with using technology in your classroom, then consider attending one of the Infusing Technology Summer Academies. For only $100, you get access to a 3 day session where you will learn how to use a variety of technology tools, plus be put on the list for the Spring Showcase the following year. This summer, there are two sessions. The first session will be June 20-22 in Charleston, WV, and the second session will be July 26-28 in Fairmont, WV. Your lodging is paid for if you live 80 miles or 90 minutes away from the session you are attending. Not too bad for 3 days of hands-on training! 

For more information on either event, check out the links below: 

Charleston, WV session
Fairmont, WV session

Myself, I’ll be heading to the Charleston session. If you end up going to that session, please let me know, as I’d love to meet up with any educators. I love making connections, and would love to connect with you.

Keep an eye out for my future posts on the Infusing Technology Spring Showcase!