Reaching All Teachers
Student-centered teaching requires that teachers share control of learning with students, who, in return, take increasing responsibility for their participation and results. Distributed, personalized professional development is no different: all teachers who buy in to a 1:1 process need to set and pursue professional development goals and manage their participation, confident they will be given the support and time needed to make difficult changes.
The sequence for Course I below addresses full-faculty participation at each step.
1. Front-End Analysis (FEA): 2 months prior
Anonymous surveys, interviews and focus groups are conducted before final contracting to assess current conditions, determine whether a school is a good fit for Going121's distributed approach, and propose modifications to increase chances for success. A part of these surveys, faculty learn about Going121's approach and can ask informed questions.
In FEA surveys, technology pioneers who adopted 1:1 pedagogy and Google Apps integration early are invited to volunteer provisionally to serve course mentoring roles. Those averse to 1:1 technology and/or pedagogy are asked to identify barriers to their participation and success, and invited choose supports they feel would help them succeed.
An FEA report shared with the building principal includes lists of course mentor volunteers and identified barriers. Strategies for supporting both course mentors and their proposed mentees by the next course start date are sought. If found, the course contract is concluded; otherwise, a small fee is assessed to cover FEA administration. At the close of the FEA process, preparation for the course begins in earnest.
2. Principal Mentoring: 6 weeks prior
Moving from 1:1 classroom pilots to full-school adoption requires savvy building-level leadership. Two months of principal mentoring, beginning one month prior to course start, are included in the contract. Going121's site facilitator and principal set goals for mentoring, starting with course preparation and choosing from among others, including:
- Articulating a Vision for Student-Centered 1:1 Classrooms
- Managing Responsibilities for a Successful Change Process
- Instructional Leadership through Classroom Observation
3. Course Mentor Preparation: 1 month prior
The Course Mentor role serves many key roles in all aspects of Going121, most importantly providing personal, accessible support to tech-averse teachers. Mentor preparation for course roles can begin after negotiating an accepted solution that meets school financial and organizational constraints. At least one month is required for this process.
Participation levels for Course Mentors are also flexible. At a minimum, each Mentor serves a number of individual faculty members by mutual consent, providing course tech support to ensure that no technical barriers prevent teachers from completing their work. Additional roles include:
- integration coaching (possibly including classroom visits for observation and modeling)
- Course facilitation (curating online discussions and responding to posts)
- Quad Review Support (helping small groups of course participants with structured peer review of course assignments)
- Materials Support (customizing course materials for the site, helping build the Community of Practice website).
Course mentors should be given set-aside time during the school day to meet regularly, reflect on progress, and plan for changes and additions. The course package does not include an external instructor to respond directly to participants or evaluate their work. Rather, responsibility for managing the formal course is transferred to the Course Mentors early on. Going121 staff time is dedicated to support principals and mentors, not participants, unless special arrangements are made.
4. Teacher Orientation
To kick off the course and associated individual offerings, faculty attend two orientation sessions. The first presents participation options and requirements for each element. This session is facilitated by Going121's site facilitator, with an introduction by the principal. After, each teacher commits to a level of involvement via registration form. Principal and course mentor team review results to prepare for next steps.
The second session prepares teachers for participation at their chosen levels. This session is facilitated and supported by course mentors, taking responsibility for the roles they will play. All teachers leave this session able to navigate the resources, use the tools, and manage time and task needs for success in the course or the self-directed learning path, depending on their selections.
The site facilitator works closely with the principal and course mentors throughout this first month to monitor participation, respond to emerging needs, and customize materials in response.
5. Mentor / Mentee Collaboration
At the outset, teachers who desire the extra support choose a mentor from among the volunteers to support them in whichever path they choose, and establish online connections with each other. Going121 prepares all teachers to use Google Hangouts to connect with mentors, because screen-sharing makes technical support much efficient.
Through Google Mail, teachers can see which mentors and peers are online, and initiate calls for Hangout help when difficulties would otherwise prevent them from using the time set aside for evening coursework. However, teachers who prefer to meet face-to-face during school can pick mentors whose schedules are aligned with their own.
6. Student-Centered Learning Modules
Both course and eLearning begin with student-centered learning pedagogy, moving quickly into classroom application of a sequence of structures. Teacher progress between open-ended questioning, student-led discussion, think-pair-share and jigsaw without a technology component for the first two months, though eventually combining project-based learning and 1:1 technology integration in the second half of the course.
These cooperative learning strategies should be familiar, even to teachers who still rely on teacher-centered instruction. The change to SCL is presented as the paradigm shift it represents, validating \difficulties that have kept some teachers from adopting it. Research-based arguments present SCL's value and impact in general, and its critical importance for 1:1 models in particular, to reinforce the reasons for adding SCL to a teacher's toolbox and adopting a more responsive classroom culture.
eLearning modules present each structure for classroom application at will, while the course sets deadlines for classroom application, so that the cohort can learn, apply, and reflect together. Readings, discussion topics are shared as assignments for teachers taking the formal course track or as email encouragements for self-directed learning path.
7. Google Apps Integration eLearning
Both course and self-directed learning tracks use Going121's SAMR Sets to explore levels of technology integration and student-centered learning in lessons for their content areas, and use interactive tutorials to master the tools needed to create materials and manage workflows these lessons require.
This exploration begins in parallel with the student-centered learning focus. Teacher who begin comfortable with SCL implement lessons that incorporate more of that approach, while others work with teacher-centered approaches for the first few months, putting their initial focus on Google Apps integration and 1:1 management.
8. Cultivating a Community of Practice
Most teachers will have come to this process with personal learning networks and personal libraries of resources, and some schools may already have technology integration websites where resources and stories are shared and accessed. For these, Going121 is a boost to bring more attention, new resources, and higher levels of collaboration. For others, it plays an even more formative role.
By the end of the second month, teachers in both tracks will have been contributing self-created materials to personal ePortfolios, reflecting in Blog posts about experiences and concepts that can inform each other's practice. Whether through course assignments, responses to email encouragements, or from direct advocacy by course mentors, teachers will begin referencing and contributing to the "Community of Practice" website.
9. After Course I
By the end of the course, the Community of Practice site will be positioned to remain the go-to resource to find out what works for whom at each school. Because it is a Google Site, these reports and resources can be private: accessible to faculty and staff if desired, or opened up to students as faculty welcome their participation in co-creating a school that meets their needs as 21st century learners.
After their formal course roles conclude, Course Mentors may continue to serve their peers as technology coaches, and schools may find formal ways to acknowledge and compensate mentors for those roles. In any case, teachers will have become accustomed to asking for and offering higher levels of peer support, forming a more interdependent and high functioning team.
For a school of 20-40 participating teachers, Going121 charges $500 per teacher, which covers all aspects of our solution, including site facilitation by expert consultants. For January pilots, we are extending a half-price offer. To see if Going121 is right for your school, contact us to schedule an interview.