Professional Learning Plan Narrative
Why do we need digital learning coaches?
I have been teaching for 23 years. In that time, I have ALWAYS had a classroom. However, this summer, I find out that I will NOT have a classroom of my own this year. This caused me to rethink lesson delivery and design. As I was preparing for this school year, I made the decision to go completely digital. Our students grew accustomed to working out of Google Classroom during the spring when the pandemic chased us all into the comfort of our own homes, and I could simply digitize all of my handouts. To go digital, I knew I needed to spend some time learning how to use the different apps Google had to offer (we are a Google district), so I spent the second half of my summer becoming a Level Two Google Certified Educator. I did not mind doing this, since I embrace technology and enjoy using various programs and apps to make learning for my students more engaging. This is already paying off, because we are having to post all of our lessons in Google Classroom for our virtual and face-to-face students, in preparation for any micro closures or quarantines that may occur because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Not all teachers are comfortable with technology. In fact, I have been helping several of the teachers with digitizing their lessons and coaching them on how to use the different Google apps. I enjoy helping them, but this takes time away from my own curriculum planning time, and quite often I am up late making sure that I have prepared lessons for my own students. This made me think about our district professional learning model and how it really has not prepared our teachers for the level of digital competency needed to thrive in a blended learning environment. The professional learning is offered, but one has to go looking for it. Because they are intimidated by technology, technophobes will not see the value in taking advantage of digital learning courses. This has caused me to really think about our current PL model and what our district can do to help teachers on all levels of digital competency. I have come to the conclusion that teachers would greatly benefit from having a Digital Learning Coach assigned to each campus. This would ensure that teachers would receive the type of personalized, ongoing digital professional learning that they are so desperately in need of.
Call to Action video
Professional Learning Blueprint
The objective of this professional learning plan is to promote digital literacy among teachers and increase their social emotional learning IQ. Although this plan outlines only 7 months, this plan is intended to carry over into the next school year by continually assessing the teacher’s needs so they can continue to improve their digital teaching skills, as well as their overall teaching practices. This plan utilizes a SEL specialist as well as a digital learning specialist. These two instructional specialists are the most qualified to design the personalized learning modules that teachers will be able to complete on their own and ask for help from the specialists as needed. In fact, these two specialists will provide individualized teacher support as needed.
My target audience is the teachers and staff on my campus. Because of the COVID 19 virus, education has been permanently altered, and it is time for teachers to catch up. Furthermore, because of the number of virtual learners we have attached to our campus, teachers must find ways to connect with them and address their social-emotional needs. Older teachers tend to be more resistant to change and afraid of failure, so we must support their learning while making it okay for them to try new teaching practices. Because the teachers on my campus have different digital learning needs, a digital learning specialist can develop personalized learning modules so that all teachers can learn the apps and programs that will best help them deliver their lessons at their own pace, while embedding SEL strategies that will connect virtual and face-to-face learners together.
To foster collaboration, I have developed this google site for teachers to access the various learning modules that will be created based on the Digital Learning Needs assessment they will take. In order for teachers to really work together, the more tech savvy teachers will be paired with the technophobes who need more help. This can be done within content areas, so they can work together during PLCs while planning lessons. The SEL specialist, in turn, will be sure that there is at least one teacher within each department who can help support teachers as they embed SEL strategies into their lessons. By working together, the Digital Learning Specialist and the SEL Specialist will be able foster a collaborative learning environment for teachers .
Fostering Self-Directed Learning
When teachers are truly interested in something, they find a way to learn about it. Therefore, the key to fostering self-directed learning is providing learning opportunities that teachers need and are interested in learning. After learning about the new concepts in their PLCs, they will not only have access to the learning modules that were introduced, they will also have access to resources and advanced modules that will improve their skills. The great thing about the modules is that they enable the learner to learn at their own pace. Furthermore, as the learner navigates the modules, they will be able to successfully embed social-emotional learning strategies into their newly digitized lesson plans. Both the SEL Specialist and the Digital Learning specialist will be on hand to help as needed.
Additionally, for those teachers who like praise, recognition, and possibly a little competition, there will be a reward system in place. They can complete modules to earn “badges,” and possibly prizes for those teachers who go above and beyond. Finally, because learners will be building their confidence and using their creativity, they will want to share their learning with their fellow educators. Highlighting pieces of their lesson plans and having them share them on the padlet or on the Google site will be very rewarding in and of itself. Because learners will be encouraged to continue their self-directed learning, inevitably, some will learn techniques beyond the scope of the planned learning and will want to teach their colleagues
Professional Learning Instructors
The Campus Digital Learning Specialist will work with the Social Emotional Learning Specialist to incorporate SEL Strategies into digital learning so that teachers will learn how to connect with and engage their virtual students and their face-to-face students.
By the end of this year, teachers will have acquired the tools necessary to confidently deliver lessons both synchronously and asynchronously through a variety of blended learning formats, including the use of flipped lessons. Furthermore, they will be able to more effectively incorporate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into their lessons, which will help engage their virtual students as well as their face-to-face (f2f) students. Additionally, teachers will have developed a more collaborative network of lessons that they can pull from in the years to come, not to mention the confidence they will have gained by successfully embedding social emotional learning strategies into their blended lessons.