Technology for Learners
RVUSD Summer Tech Institutes
Author: Rick Phelan
The Rincon Valley Union School District (RVUSD) sponsored two week-long teacher technology professional development activities this summer. Over 40% of district teachers took part in one of the events aimed at helping teachers extend and improve use of technology tools. Coordinated by Assistant Superintendent, Terry Metzger, and Teacher on Special Assignment, Erin Conrad, the activities offered teachers time to focus and learn during summer months. School administration encouraged teachers to attend by seeking teacher input on topics, personalized support through a 1 to 10 coach/participant ratio, and $1000 stipends.
Institute mornings were focused on learning related to topics in the following areas:
- Google Drive & Apps
- Twitter for Educators
- Flipped Classrooms
- Troubleshooting Techniques
- Using Chromebooks
- iMovie for the flipped classroom
Afternoons offered personalized learning opportunities and planning time. Along with Conrad, RVUSD teachers Kathy Alexander, Larkin O’Leary and Chris Lister were available to assist participants with technology questions and curriculum integration ideas. Some teachers experimented with technology learning from the morning sessions. Other groups worked on planning technology integration activities for the new school year. Conrad stated that all had a commitment to find better ways to meet students where they are in the 2015-16 school year.
RVUSD Summer Institute participants expressed appreciation for the professional development. Excerpts from evaluations:
- This is the best PD I’ve ever done.
- I’m a reluctant tech user-- I showed up everyday. No one talked down to me-- I learned.
- I valued the attitude from the presenters--their actions and efforts conveyed what they said: ‘We’re here to help!’
- This activity affirmed the value of processing time-- daily time for thinking and work.
Support During the 2015-16 School Year
Recognizing that technology professional development needs to be sustained and isn’t a one time event, RVUSD’s Metzger and Conrad point to the following activities that will continue the learning:
- Teacher on Special Assignment- Availability of a consulting teacher who will visit district classrooms during the day, offer coaching support, and respond to email questions.
- PD Thursdays- Professional development will be offered at the district office after school on Thursdays during the school year. Topics will be based on teacher interests and needs. Technology will be one strand each month.
- Rincon Valley U- Twice each year Rincon Valley holds an activity known as Rincon Valley U where teachers present theme based activities to fellow teachers. Some of these presentations will be technology based.
- Continued revision of a Technology Skills Progression that was developed last year. The goal is to help teachers identify the types of skills that should be embedded into Units of Study to further develop student skill with technology every year.
Rincon Valley plans to host a second set of institutes next summer. Conrad says, “...time is the most valuable thing we can offer teachers. They need to try the technologies and think about how to match them with learning outcomes.”
For more Information:
Erin Conrad firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Metzger email@example.com