Tuesday, December 1, 2015

5 Ideas for Incorporating Technology into Staff Development

Faculty and department meetings can be a drag when it's a sit-and-get experience. That's why I made a commitment last year to integrate technology in ways that enhance the exchange of information during our meetings.


Here are a few of the things I've tried and a couple I'll use in the future. 

1. Poll Everywhere Word Cloud

Sometimes the best way to collect data is through an open response like a five-word summary. Use Poll Everywhere to collect the words and set the presentation view to word cloud.

I use this for vocabulary discussion, and it's great because it's novel and it gives you a starting point based on the groups priorities. The example below was from a world history discussion.


2. Today's Meet Summary

How many times have you been in a faculty meeting and the atmosphere is thick with silent opinions? What if some of those points of view were typed and anonymous? 

Sure, certain topics are inappropriate for this type of collection. For short summaries or back channel questions and comments, Today's Meet is perfect.

3. Verso App Discussion

Do you want to know what people really think? Do you want to hear from those who don't speak up? 

Verso App provides an opportunity for users to focus on only the ideas. It allows all of the identity issues and baggage to remain mute in these conversations. 

It's always interesting to see the reactions from my colleagues when I show them the level of discussions kids experience with this app.


4. Quizlet Check for Recall

Instead of conducting a meeting to tell my department about a new policy, I broke up the beliefs and practices into a card deck. They took a quiz and we discussed the data on Quizlet based the frequency of incorrect responses.

This approach did three things. My teachers experienced learning at their own pace, they learned a new tool, and we only discussed the group's most troublesome areas. It also modeled for them the things we want to see in classrooms. 


5. Flubaroo with Google Forms

This one is a little more advanced, but easy to learn because it walks you through the steps once the add-on is in your Google Sheets app (browser only). From start to finish, this process can take two minutes if the form is already made.

1. Make Google Form.
2. Add Flubaroo to the Google Sheet that contains the form's responses.
3. Walk through provides steps.
4. Evaluate the results.

We could think of so many more ways to use technology for staff development, so here are a few to start. How have you used digital technology for staff development?