Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Teacher Technology Leaders: iTeacher Program

Last week the instructional technologists had the pleasure of working with some of our technology leaders in the classroom. We have a group of iTeachers that serve as our model classrooms, professional development presenters, and first line of defense for technology assistance in our schools. This year we received approval to increase the number of iTeachers from 1 to 2 or 3 per school. We were very excited to increase our numbers.
For our first official session together we wanted to explain the program, discuss presentation skills, and begin planning for our summer conference.

We utilized Google Classroom to deliver presentation slides and materials so as our iTeachers entered the room, there were instructions on how to join the group. We also asked those without Twitter accounts to create one. Kristen created these awesome place cards with all of their information, including name, agenda for the day, Google Classroom code, spot for Twitter handle, our district hashtag, and an icon of the presentation tool they would be using that day.

After a round of icebreaker questions we shared the pencil metaphor and talked about how excited we were to have such amazing teacher leaders with us. We shared some of our plans for the June conference and explained their role in the conference. We shared the different types of presentations we need their help in presenting. We had already created intentionally diverse groups based on presentation tool so we asked them to get together with the others with that same tool on their place card. We gave them the option of using Flowvella, Haiku Deck, Prezi, Nearpod/Classflow or Keynote/Google Slides. We thought that we could avoid a PowerPoint flooded conference if we shared alternatives with them.

After breaking into their group we shared their assignment: Create a presentation using your assigned tool. Include your goals for being an iTeacher, strengths, presentation ideas for professional development and fun ideas for the conference. We gave them plenty of time to create their presentation. I loved hearing them share their technology experiences throughout that creation process.

Each group shared their presentation and then we asked them to read this article from Lisa Nielsen:
We looked at the plans we had made for that day and talked about how we intentionally used her advice in creating our session and we asked that they consider this advice when creating their presentations for June. Before breaking for lunch we asked each teacher to summarize the morning in a tweet using the district hashtag.

Our iTeachers from last year joined our new group after lunch. We played "Switch Sides if..." as an icebreaker. This is where I found that idea. Then we shared a Padlet we had created with our session ideas and some from the morning's presentations. We decided to choose topics using the White Elephant/Dirty Santa game. If you've never played here are the official rules. We had several steals and lots of laughs, but I think everyone ended up with a topic they liked. Click It to Win It was the most stolen topic!

Then we explained our idea for an App Gallery at the conference. Instead of a traditional vendor hall our iTeachers will create a booth advertising an app that they recommend. Teachers have a stamp card and they have to visit a certain number of booths, listen to the explanation and maybe even create something using the app to earn a stamp. After some time in the App Gallery to explore teachers will choose one of the apps and go to a breakout room with the iTeacher where they will go into more depth about using the tool. We created a shared spreadsheet in Google Drive so that our iTeachers could select the app they want to share.

Finally we gave them some time to begin working on their presentations and asked them all to share another tweet about the day. I left full of excitement for the conference. We are lucky to have so many amazing teachers in our district.

If you have a similar program for your tech leaders I would love to hear about it.