AMP Your Professional Development By 20%

I spent a lot of time at ISTE in sessions about professional development: how to make it meaningful, getting more efficient, and personalizing it to best meet teachers’ needs.  In my new role, I will be doing much more formal professional development than ever before, so I figured I’d better learn from those who already do it and do it well.  One of my favorite sessions at ISTE this year was from Ann Crilley and Becky Goddard, two tech integration coaches in North Carolina.  Their session was titled, “Transforming Your Professional Development with the 20% Model.”

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Based on Google’s 20% model, many schools now are trying to give teachers time and space to pursue professional development that is exciting and meaningful to them.  Also drawing from Daniel Pink’s work, they cite his idea that teachers (and anyone) requires three elements to create intrinsic motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose (AMP).  Unfortunately, in most professional development sessions, the teacher’s purpose is “because we have to.”   Purpose.

But what if teachers could have some say in what they learn, when, and how?  There’s so much buzz in education circles now about student voice/choice, but what about their teachers?  We talk about how students need to be engaged learners, that worksheets don’t build dendrites, and that students learn best by doing?  But what about teachers?  Aren’t we really just (slightly) bigger students?  How many times have you sat in a PD session, bored out of your mind, telling your tablemates how you just can’t sit like this all day?  Autonomy.

One thing the speakers talked about was assessing how well their teachers were integrating technology into their classroom.  They had teachers self-assess using a 3-tiered system that was more accessible to teachers than, say, a SAMR model.  I think this reflection piece is missing in a lot of PD models.  The only one who really knows how well a teacher integrates technology is the teacher (and hopefully the students).  If they are currently at a tier 1, what do they need to do to advance to tier 2 or 3?  Again, this will look different for every teacher.  Mastery.

One piece I absolutely LOVED was the idea of an app challenge.  The tech coaches set these up using various apps that teachers might want to utilize in their classroom, such as PicCollage, Aurasma, Kahoot, and others (they used www.smore.com to create theirs).  Once the challenges are set up, teachers can access them on their own at any time.  When completed, they submit some form of evidence that they’ve learned the app or process.

The best part of this idea?  Aside from the fact that anyone can do these at any time (early in the morning, during prep at school, after the kids are in bed, etc.), what I thought was so brilliant was how they used them during snow days.  Yes, apparently they get snow days in North Carolina – who knew?!  One of the presenters said that she had a few app challenges ready in her back pocket and on their first snow day she sent one out to her teachers.  Since most of them were home with not much else to do, she had about 17 out of 25 teachers complete the challenge.  Not bad!  How many other teachers can say they were still productive on a snow day at home?  And we all know that here in Minnesota, we’re bound to have at least one snow or cold weather day.

These ladies had lots of great ideas for AMP-ing up their PD time for teachers.  I’m excited to use some of their ideas this next year.  If you’d like more of their info, they’ve generously shared their information on a Smore – check it out by clicking here!

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