Workshop Week

We completed our “workshop week” on Thursday, which consists of a number of formal activities, professional development for teachers, as well as much needed time in classrooms as they prepare for the school year.

NHS staff use iPads during their photo scavenger hunt

The transformational technology plan was in full view during these workshops. We held two additional iPad I training sessions for staff who had not been able to attend yet. At this point, we have provided iPad I training for nearly 300 Northfield educators over 13 sessions!

In addition, we saw building principals leading the charge – using the devices for increased professional efficiency as many meeting agendas and materials were distributed electronically — some as large as 42 pages. The saving in paper and the time needed to reproduce the materials for staff meetings is an important step forward. As staff see principals modeling this strategy, they will be able to foresee how they may do that with students should we choose to move forward with a student implementation.

A couple of well-conceived strategies were evident during Northfield High School’s workshops. Staff used their iPads to simultaneously complete a building climate survey and were able to use the data in discussions about their school. Another activities required the use of the iPad’s camera. Staff worked in teams completing a “scavenger hunt” to familiarize themselves with changes in the building at NHS. These activities are examples of how staff are learning to use the devices in a way that is accelerating their understanding of how they might have students use them in the future.

We also saw staff problem solving technology issues, which is an important opportunity for them! NHS staff took dozens of photos and videos during their scavenger hunt and then had to find an efficient way to get them off of the iPad and into a shared folder on our network. It isn’t terribly efficient to email a large number of photos to yourself, though some staff teams went down that road and were successful. Since our PCs don’t have iPhoto, we learned the iPad is recognized on a PC in a similar way to a USB flash drive and were able to copy and paste the photos/videos to the shared network folder. Other staff used their Dropbox accounts to synchronize photos with their PC. For tech-savvy folks, this may seem pedestrian, but it is the exact kind of problem solving that teachers do with their students. I was incredibly proud of how our NHS staff handled those issues and my understanding is that the photo slideshow that was shared later went very well.

We’ll continue to highlight how staff use their iPads and the progress we make on our investigation of a potential student implementation. As of now, we are moving on the right path and we have a staff that has embraced this mobile technology even more than I had anticipated.