Hello, and welcome to my practicum blog! Throughout this last semester in the ITEC program, I’ll be writing several times per week to reflect on my on-the-job experiences, discuss secondary and tertiary site visits, and review those checklist items that aren’t considered part of my normal job duties. I’ll also be responding to reflection questions in Doug Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion 2.0.
I’m still waiting to find out where I’ll be for my secondary and tertiary site visits, but since I’m already a practicing media specialist, I have no shortage of exciting things to cover! Today I want to talk about a very big task that I’ve already tackled this year.
School started for us on August 9, so we just started our second week of classes. One of my first big projects that I’m happy to say has already concluded successfully was 7th grade and new student laptop training. Since we’re a 1:1 school for all 7th – 12th graders, we have a lot of ground to cover with older students before classes even begin. Last year we trained these students over the course of several days during July, but this year we decided to integrate that training into the first few days of school. Another difference about this year’s training was that we asked 7th grade teachers to conduct the training sessions. Last year another teacher and I taught ALL sessions—in the end, it totaled over 30 hours! We asked 7th grade teachers to teach training sessions this year for several reasons. First, the technology director and I concluded that I could not realistically teach all sessions going forward; it was an unsustainable model. I have many job responsibilities that occur during the first few weeks of school, and I need to be somewhat free to work with other teachers and classes. Second, we educators know that if someone wants to become very familiar and comfortable with a subject, the best approach is to teach it. We were doing our 7th grade teachers a disservice by taking that opportunity away from them, especially since most often they are the first to field student questions regarding devices in class.
To prep these teachers for taking over training, the technology integration specialist and I spent quite a bit of time reviewing learner needs, instructional and procedural objectives, and methods of assessment with them. I had studied these instructional design aspects last year when I was preparing to lead the training sessions myself for the first time, and this year we had the benefit of experience to revise and improve our approach. I walked the teachers through what training had looked like last year, gave them all of the materials I had used, then asked them to spend some time getting more familiar with the content. Training covers six main areas: basic device management, Outlook, Office 365 and OneDrive, OneNote, Class Notebooks, and PaperCut. We had three teachers take two topics each. They each did a run-through of their training session with me and the technology integration specialist, at which point we offered feedback. Finally, we were ready for training to begin.
These 7th grade teachers did an amazing job, teaching back-to-back sessions throughout the first week of classes. They made the training topics applicable to common classroom tasks without limiting them to a specific subject area or grade level. The consistency and carryover from day to day was seamless. Either the technology integration specialist or I was there to offer instructional support during every session, which I think helped to put the teachers more at ease. In the end, everyone agreed that this year’s approach was more beneficial for both students and teachers, and we now have a roadmap for how to sustain this type of training in future years.