PD in your PJs

This Spring, twenty-six teachers and staff from twelve schools (and central administration) engaged in a self-paced, online course designed to introduce the Google Apps for Education suite of tools. They all learned how to create a document, slideshow, form, and embed them each into a classroom. They all watched tutorial videos and submitted assignments to an instructor. However, they all did it at their own pace and at their own selected day and time (even in their PJs). 

Heather French, Instructional Technology Specialist at Cambridgeport & King, proposed the online course after teaching the same content in the traditional face-to-face setting and recognizing the need to differentiate pace and provide resources to the course participants. As she started recording tutorial videos to serve as resources, she noticed that teachers in her class were able to simply watch the videos and apply their learning through an assessment task. Along with the high demand for the course and the challenge of meeting the variety of school ending times, the idea of an online course was born.

The success of this Spring’s first cohort sparked a conversation within the Educational Technology department to explore other content that could be delivered in this online format. We discussed the pros and cons of this format and determined that not all topics nor learning goals can be met without face-to-face meetings or collegial conversations, however, there is some content that at the introductory level lends itself nicely. So, next year the department looks to build capacity to develop online content and plans to expand course offerings.

Getting Started with Google Drive will once again be offered as an online course in the Fall of 2016. At the same time, teachers within the Educational Technology will form a PLC to deepen their own understanding about online course design. Then in the Spring of 2017 we will launch new online courses in topics such as advanced Google tools, SMART Notebook, and the paperless classroom. Stay tuned for more information!

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