Ever since Hāpara made it possible to include teachers as learners in Workspace, Heather Rentz and I have been utilizing it for all of our PD sessions across our school district. We have the pleasure of working with all sorts of groups, so we love that we can customize and differentiate the instruction and create collaborative professional development sessions that meet the needs of our teachers.
Whole-school, Collaborative Professional Development
Here is an example of a Hāpara Workspace-based collaborative professional development session we created for our whole staff that was used during a school-based professional learning day. One of our elementary school administrators invited us to show them a few apps or ideas to spark the minds of her teachers. This was an opportunity to not just show apps and tools, but to get them to really think about how to empower students to learn in their own way. We started with showing them examples of how to collaborate using Google Drawings for real time interaction. We also gave examples of how to use Read & Write for Google, so students could customize and support themselves. And of course, we ended by introducing how powerful and diverse Workspace can be.
TES Team Days
Our district holds Teacher Effectiveness Days, so teachers can meet either with grade groups or subject groups at least three times a year to co-create and design lessons. The facilitator for the senior high math group invited us to show them a few things about coding. We created this Workspace to facilitate that discussion.
The session began with a real math task using Sphero robots that involved imperial measuring and adding fractions. We later discussed the similarities between orders of operations and coding, then segued into using the bootstrap coding language to create and manipulate shapes for Transformations.
Our district also believes in supporting new teachers, so they pair them with mentors for their first year. On one district support day, we provided a collaborative professional development session using tools like Slides and My Maps to show how students can demonstrate their learning in innovative ways. You can view the Workspace for that session here. During the session, we walked teachers through the possibilities for each app and gave them lots of time to play and create — the same way that they would engage their own students.
We could have just used a slideshow for these presentations, but by using Workspace to help guide the PD and provide support where needed, we believe our teachers were more thoroughly engaged, and had tangible resources to look back on and utilize in the future.