Teachers were divided into three cohorts during this three year process. In Cohort 1, the District contracted with Apple, Inc. for eight full pull-out professional development days related to: iLife, iWorks, the SAMR framework and Challenge-Based Learning. This provided a balance of learning in regard to applications and pedagogy. During the year, our TLC group (comprised of computer technicians, library media teachers, and instructional coaches) met regularly to reflect on the professional development and the teachers’ needs. For Cohort 2, we looked for experts within the District to share their collective knowledge. The TLC group led and supported 4 pull-out professional development days for teachers. While the software technicians taught the Apple applications, our library media teachers supported their sessions by proffering ideas to connect the software with classroom activities. Our administrators taught the SAMR framework, and a high-school teacher along with her students taught challenge-based learning. In the third year, Cohort 3 teachers participated in 3 pull-out days of training. As teachers were already integrating the technology tools, less time was needed to cover the similar content. All of this was complemented by the building work related to teachers’ professional learning communities.
The District developed a Summer Academy in which teachers could learn more from colleagues and administrators about best practices. Learn more and download the brochure here. There were almost 40 face to face, online, and blended sessions for diverse stakeholders. There many book studies including Core Six, Difficult Conversations, Hanging In, and the Handbook for Instructional Assistants. Additionally, teachers and administrators presented at the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit. We are proud of our faculty members who shared their knowledge with their colleagues.
During Opening Day, administrators worked as a 2-person team to present a hands-on workshop about Webb’s Depth of Knowledge for all teachers. We want all teachers to understand how to design complex tasks and assessments for their students.
For the 2014-15 school year, as part of TL2020, all students in kindergarten and first grade received iPad Minis. As a result, we are implementing an iPad Cohort in 2014-15. These grade level and specialist teachers will meet to learn more about best practices in iPad use. Together we will explore work flow on the iPad, evaluate apps, implement Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program, and uncover additional learning needs.
Additionally, the District has a VAST (Virtual Academy of Salisbury Township) Instructional Design Cohort. Eight high school teachers will be developing courses through the learning management system (LMS) Canvas. This small pilot affords us the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of teachers as we: learn more about the affordances and constraints of the Canvas LMS, better understand the challenges and realities of online course development, and learn more about best practices in online teaching and learning. The goal is for us to have our own teachers teaching these courses during the 2015-16 school year.