Professional Development and Teacher Training

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     • Digital Convergence With Educator Evaluations as a Driver of Personalized Learning

EdTech Specialists services can assist districts with educator evaluations in digital convergence through:

  •  Performing gap analysis of existing educator evaluation tool and digital convergence goals
  • Designing digital solutions for educator evaluations
  • Completing the waiver process from the state recommended evaluation system
  • Assisting with adoption of a locally-determined educator evaluation system or adaptation of state-approved evaluation systems to fit district needs
  • Developing a plan for obtaining stakeholder input, reliability, and validity data on district-adopted evaluation processes and workflows
  • Framing professional learning around the needs of the district for educator evaluation and digital convergence

     • Professional Development for Educators
Whether your school has been using Google Apps (G Suite) for some time now, or if you are newer to the platform, we can help your staff take their Google knowledge, skills, and abilities to the next level. Including a focus on web-based and mobile applications, we can provide customized training solutions for your staff on Google’s apps, including: Classroom, Drive, Gmail, Sites, Blogger, Slides, Docs, Sheets or Forms.

  • Blended/Flipped Learning Transformation

Transforming the traditional instructional delivery method to a flipped or blended/hybrid model can be exciting for some, but it can be challenging or uncomfortable for others. We guide educators in understanding that technology tools can be used to enhance their teaching not replace it. We help schools discover that transforming the traditional instructional delivery method can be an effective way to meet the needs of all learners. We provide instruction and guidance in digital content creation as well as how to create recorded lessons for use in any LMS. We provide educators with a variety of digital tools to transform their instructional delivery model to a flipped or fully blended format. We customize this professional development for teachers to use with classrooms or administrators to use with staff and school communities.

  • Professional Development for New/Inexperienced Educators

New teachers often feel isolated and don’t know where to turn. We provide professional development options for new and inexperienced teachers that will inspire an appreciation for the effective use of technology.  The focus is that technology doesn’t replace teachers—it enhances what they can offer. Building learning communities is a way to help them build lifelong learning skills. We guide new teachers in learning how to use technology to build their Professional Learning Network and experience the power of networking skills and interests.

  • Establish Blended/Hybrid Learning Environments

Schools are seeking ways to allow students to be more accountable, collaborative, and empowered in the learning process. We provide guidance in the transformation from teacher driven to student driven and student centered classrooms. We guide teachers in taking steps to allow students to take more ownership in their learning options. The blended learning environment is a perfect fit for schools who are building student centered classrooms.

  • Professional Development for Writing Teachers

Schools are looking for ways to enhance their writing curriculums and motivate writers. Writing is an important skill, yet it is often pushed to the bottom of the list due to time constraints or lack of confidence. We provide training for writing teachers to support success, engage students in the writing process, build collaboration, as well as write and publish to authentic audiences. These professional development opportunities can be customized to meet the unique needs of a district or school regardless of the writing curriculum currently in place. We provide teachers with a variety of digital tools and instructional activities to make writing opportunities available across the curriculum.

      • Teacher Training / Professional Development

EdTech Specialists offer a variety of teacher training opportunities from half-day events to multi-week courses. We specialize in training and professional development for teachers teaching in an online environment.

      • Educational Technology Training and Support Options

Training and support for a wide variety of educational technology tools for teacher and student use in the classroom. (Please contact us for more information on options for personalized training for PD, perhaps as an afterschool activity for teachers. This opportunity will be “personalized” by the customer determining the tools, or type of tools, they want to learn about.)

      • Professional Development for effective technology integration

      • Assist with technology initiatives and integration

      • Project-Based Learning (PBL)

EdTech Specialists has sensed the continuing demand for PBL in schools. This systematic teaching method provides high levels of student voice and choice in learning, incorporates 21st century skills, and engages students in inquiry to address authentic questions. Whether schools want to develop PBL curriculum or train their teachers in PBL methods, we can provide the resources or training needed to support successful implementation of PBL.

      • Visual Literacy and Visible Thinking

Help teachers to get students understanding the thinking of others, as well as their own thinking, through image-rich content. Content creation and training opportunities are available, in a variety of customizable formats, for teachers to engage their students in making their thinking visible. We will provide teachers with a variety of digital and low/no-tech tools and instructional activities to make student thinking visible.

      • Assisting with Curriculum Review

We specialize in the development, deployment, and assessment of science curriculum to ensure student learning and alignment with state standards. We will work with your science teachers and curriculum department to review existing curriculum and make recommendations to enhance it.

      • Training for Science Teachers

The Michigan Science Standards and NGSS call for a very different approach to teaching and learning in science than ever before. We can provide training for science teachers to support success with teaching the Michigan Science Standards, developing lessons aligned to the standards, and how to engage students in the Science & Engineering Practices of the standards. Training can be done in either content-specific areas or with general instructional practices that align to the Michigan Science Standards. These professional development opportunities can be customized to meet the needs of a district or school.

      • Formative Assessment

We provide staff development to help classrooms incorporate more formative assessment in their teaching to support dynamic and ongoing learning. Teachers learn formative assessment techniques to help students articulate their thoughts more visibly, reflect on their own thinking against feedback, and refine their understanding. All the meanwhile, teachers are able to collect data over time on student learning and develop a more comprehensive picture of what students know and are able to do.

      • Analysis of Policy & Practice

In order to move toward a competency-based approach to teaching and learning, schools need to ensure that existing policies and practices around grading and assessment align with tenets of the competency-based educational model. We specialize in analyzing policies and practices for equity, efficacy, research basis, responsiveness, and accountability, including those pertaining to assessment and grading from the individual classroom to district-level.

     • Development of Policy and Practice  

Based on the analysis of policy and practice, we make recommendations to advance policies and practices toward a competency-based model and work to make revisions until they meet district needs. This might include assistance in creating competencies and standards, assessments, or transitioning from traditional to standards-based grading. We also provide training opportunities to help staff to adopt competency-based policies and practices.

      • Design and Lead a Customized New Teacher Academy

We specialize in supporting early-career educators with current best practices for the classroom and profession. We work with schools and districts to create a program that fits the needs they have to onboard and support their new teachers. Customizing content, format, and duration, we will develop and help lead an academy to support new teachers. Areas of focus might include such topics as instruction, assessment, leadership, technology, and relational literacy.

      • Individual or Group Instructional Coaching Sessions

EdTech Specialists consultants know that mentoring and coaching can help teachers not only improve, but also make the leap from good to great. We recognize that while juggling other responsibilities, administrators and teacher mentors aren’t always available to support teachers when they need it. Our experienced team can work with teachers individually, or in groups, to assist schools in helping educators to enhance their professional practice. Coaching and mentoring services are available to teachers for face-to-face sessions or virtual meetings, so that existing staff can avoid overload.

      • Instructional Rounds

Educators learn from one another by collaborating, but seldom do they get to learn from watching each other in action. Instructional Rounds are a great way to get educators into one another’s classroom to understand instructional practice, develop shared vocabulary for instructional conversations, and elevate the collective efficacy of a teaching staff. We will work with schools or districts to develop an Instructional Rounds experience and help them to implement it with some or all of their teaching staff. The Instructional Rounds experience would take a group of educators on learning walks to visit several classrooms around a theme of instructional practice, and then debrief the learning with them to inform their own practice. Facilitating classroom observations in this non-evaluative way supports the onboarding of new teachers and enhances the professional development of veteran educators.

      • Digital Solutions for Educator Evaluations 

Evaluations are supposed to measure performance and support professional growth; however, they are also time-intensive and sometimes the evaluation process itself can get in the way of reaching its intended outcomes. By adopting digital solutions, which reduce bureaucracy and decrease uncertainty, both educators and evaluators will be able to work smarter, not harder at evaluation.

      • Review of Existing Educator Evaluation Process and Workflow

We offer a Process Audit of existing evaluation systems, which can help determine how effectively a school or district’s educator evaluation process is achieving its intended goals. This audit will:

  1. identify areas of strength and weakness in current evaluation process
  2. review the way performance is documented, feedback is provided, and communication takes place between evaluator and educator
  3. recommend practices to enhance the evaluation experience for both evaluator and educator

      • Elicit Stakeholder Input on Evaluation Processes and Workflows

We can conduct surveys or focus groups to acquire perception data about existing and potential evaluation solutions. Feedback is then used to inform the development of evaluation solutions and guide implementation.

      • Create Digital Workflows to Improve Educator Evaluation

We specialize in creating digital workflows, using low-cost or free digital tools, for educator evaluation to help districts by reducing paperwork, removing redundancies, and improving communication between evaluator and educator. Throughout the development of digital workflows, we coordinate with stakeholders, and counsel as needed, to ensure that the solutions meet the letter of the law and serve the needs of end users. This give districts an evaluation process that better measures performance and supports professional growth—allowing everyone to focus on what matters.

      • Provide Training on Digital Solutions for Evaluations

We specialize in training opportunities and professional development for administrators and educators to help them understand and use the digital solutions we help them to create for educator evaluation.