Learning to see: PD’s not just for faculty

Learning to see, when do we get time to “play” with new ideas? Research indicates play is good [1] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/home-base/201608/play-is-serious-business yet, education is busy. If you combine day to day operation plus the need to navigate change, our schedule fills up fast. Is it one cloud or many? Can I really talk to my computer? I don’t like Chrome. Turns out students, faculty, and support staff struggle with new ideas and change. You know the support staff, they keep the school running while all the rest of us are teaching. So, we did something for their learning.

Learning to be inclusive, school professional development (PD) days focus on learning for the faculty. Yes, occasionally we invite the support staff too. Yet, the feedback was “nice, yet not really something I can use.” So, on the October 17, 2016 the tech coaches structured the PD day around learning for the support staff. Surveys were sent, eight workshops were designed, and twenty-three workshops were offered. While we all possess the same tools, not everyone sees our vision.[2]http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/12/learning-how-to-see.html We may be a Google School, yet if those in the trenches never learn why, then we will continue to see a lot of Microsoft Office documents.


“It is very nice that I can have time to sit down and ask some small questions (alternative ways to do thing) which save much time at work.” -anonymous feedback

Learning together, everyone needs ongoing opportunities to learn. For the first time we brought admin staff together. We met people we knew only by telephone or email. Turns out, we all face similar challenges. As a big school, it is not always clear who or where you ask for help. We pushed limits, met the tech coaches, and learned that we are smarter together. Now, finding[3]http://jenniferlouden.com/find-your-tribe/ your[4]http://www.mrsshipley.com/?p=1300 tribe[5]http://tamaravrussell.com/2015/06/finding-my-tribe/ is easier and leadership is committed to making everyone feel more comfortable to pursue their learning.

“…we were encouraged to ask questions and more questions and that sat well to us the attendees, to be courageous to ask (even though the answer might be too simple), and they also encouraged other attendees to answer some of the question.” – anonymous feedback

Learning evolves, to each their own learning style and time. We offered most workshops in all time slots. Workshops were small which allowed a bit more personalized learning. When ideas did not work, we changed them. If someone asked an unrelated question, we answered it and included it in the content of the next workshop. Our focus was hands on learning.  Install this extension, download these apps, and link these files were all common statements in workshops.  We wanted to provide attendees with an idea that could be used back at their desks.


They are all very hands on , I used what I learned the following school day to make a poster for teachers.” anonymous feedback

Learning always, easier said than done. We as leaders need to be courageous and step up to provide opportunities to everyone! We all need encouragement to play, take risks, and fail; else we risk not moving forward. As change becomes more of a constant than a fad, we need everyone’s knowledge and skills.


“When you are up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember your job was to drain the swamp.[6]http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/30/messages/2095.html” –anonymous from Internet

Without everyone learning, forward movement gets harder.  There is just so much work, i.e., alligators, and so little time to learn, i.e., how to drain the swamp.

References   [ + ]

1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/home-base/201608/play-is-serious-business
2. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/12/learning-how-to-see.html
3. http://jenniferlouden.com/find-your-tribe/
4. http://www.mrsshipley.com/?p=1300
5. http://tamaravrussell.com/2015/06/finding-my-tribe/
6. http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/30/messages/2095.html

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