I’ve been away for four weeks, enjoying a cold Christmas in Europe, and attending a very traditional English wedding set in a beautiful country house. But while I’ve been away I’ve kept up with my reading, and bookmarked an interesting set of articles and resources to share. So now that I’m back in Sydney, and adjusting to the warmth again, it’s time to share some reading!
EdSurge is a US-based educational technology journal website which focuses on change in the marketplace, and new ways of using technology to support teaching and learning. One of their stories late last year was “When Vendors and Districts Collaborate on Professional Development”, which tells the tale of the Omaha Public Schools district in Nebraska, and their decision to roll out Office 365 Education to their staff and students. Their strategic plan focuses on ensuring that their projects will make a positive difference to students’ learning, but in their roll out of Office 365 they have also focused very clearly on the professional development for their staff to ensure that students receive the most benefit. So their roll out included inclusion in the Office 365 Fasttrack programme to speed up deployment, and then a close linkage with the Microsoft Innovative Educator Programme, to enrol 100 teachers within the Omaha system as members of the MIE programme – giving them access to training that allows them to act as role models for best practices in technology integration.
I’d recommend reading the full article to understand how they have paired together a technology roll out with a professional development initiative (that is much more than just conventional training), in order to focus on the end goal of enhancing teaching and learning – rather than being focused purely on ticking a box of technology deployment.