We flipped professional development and our teachers loved it

[I’ve been quite fortunate to work and present with Aaron Sams, one of the gurus of Flipped Learning. In this eSchoolNews article Aaron and Justin Aglio, the Director of Innovation for the Montour School District, explain how the Montour Learning Network (MLN) has flipped traditional professional development and increased participation by educators by 600%.]

BY AARON SAMS AND JUSTIN AGLIO, September 12th, 2016
Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Learning cultures have no doubt shifted for students in most K-12 public schools. With new one-to-one initiatives, blended learning, online courses, project-based learning, one could argue that students are now more prepared than ever before for the 21st century. But what about teachers?

How are teachers learning to operate as professionals in the 21st century? Most teachers rely on traditional professional development methods like guidebooks on curriculum implementation or face-to-face. lecture-style settings, the gist of which is “Tell me something and maybe I will do it.” Other teachers, though, strive for more dynamic personalized learning opportunities (like the ones our students receive). So, how is it that we are preparing our students for the 21st century with a sense of urgency, but when it comes to quality learning for teachers, many school districts do not practice what they preach?

There are many theories of why we use words like collaboration, creativity, and communication with students, but we judge and evaluate our teachers with words like individual assessments, standards, and individual accountability. Maybe it is the fault of a “system” that places high expectations for teachers to teach 21st-century skills, but only be evaluated on 20th-century learning outcomes.

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As Tech Booms, Workers Turn to Coding

After a three-month course in computer programming and data analysis, Paul Minton, a former math major, moved up from waiting tables to a job as a data scientist, earning more than $100,000 a year. Credit Matt Edge for The New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — After Paul Minton graduated from college, he worked as a waiter, but always felt he should do more.

So Mr. Minton, a 26-year-old math major, took a three-month course in computer programming and data analysis. As a waiter, he made $20,000 a year. His starting salary last year as a data scientist at a web start-up here was more than $100,000.

“Six figures, right off the bat,” Mr. Minton said. “To me, it was astonishing.”

Stories like his are increasingly familiar these days as people across a spectrum of jobs — poker players, bookkeepers, baristas — are shedding their past for a future in the booming tech industry. The money sloshing around in technology is cascading beyond investors and entrepreneurs into the broader digital work force, especially to those who can write modern code, the language of the digital world.

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Promoting Multicultural Learning

[David Dulberger is a colleague from Maryland who is doing exceptional work with elementary students. He’s a 5th grade teacher in the Washington County Schools in Maryland working with gifted and talented students in a 1:1 iPad environment. In this article David looks at Book Creator has a tool to provide a multimedia tool that opens the door for multicultural learning.]

David Dulberger kindly shares his research and insight from the position paper he presented to his school, to convince them to upgrade from the free to the full version of Book Creator.

David DulbergerDavid Dulberger is currently a 5th grade magnet teacher at Emma K. Doub, a 1:1 Apple Distinguished School in Maryland, USA.

David is part of the 2015 class of Apple Distinguished Educators, a 2014 PBS Digital Innovator, and a My Big Campus Coach.

The American Council of Teaching Foreign Language states that

“unlike the classroom of yesteryear that required students to know a great deal of information about the language but did not have an expectation of language use, today’s classroom is about teaching languages so that students use them to communicate with native speakers of the language.”
ACTFL, 2011

In a true 21st century classroom, students are infusing technology with multiple types of literacy skills to build on knowledge and experiences. They transfer these newly refined skills to perform a new and authentic task.

Due to the fact that experiences are heavily influenced by culture and language, teachers need to provide students with the tools and learning experiences they need to successfully perform these transfer tasks. Not only is authoring and publishing an ebook a new and authentic task, it can open the doors for teachers and students to learn about various cultures and other languages.

It is with great confidence that I propose to my school to purchase the full version of the Book Creator for iPad application for each student. I believe this will promote multicultural learning in the classroom as well as support L2 students, also known as ELL or ESOL students.

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