In our job as ITRTs, our main purpose is to meet the on-demand technology integration needs of our students, teachers and administrators. Often this translates to professional development or lesson collaboration in the classroom.
What about other district personnel at the school board office?
Superintendent. Director. Curriculum Specialist. Secretary. Where is their technology training?
We've rolled out several new initiatives this year, most specifically Google Apps for Education (GAFE), which is quickly redefining our structure of work efficiency. While much of our summer and fall was focused on preparing and delivering instructional support for our front-line faculty and staff, we realized there was a need to expand our training to other vital roles in our district.
Welcome to HCPS Tech Take-Out.
The concept, inspired by our friends in Henrico County Public Schools, is simple: Create a list of training options that people could select, similar to ordering off a take-out menu, then provide what was ordered. We decided to take it one step further - we didn't just let school board office employees choose anything off the menu... we let them create the menu themselves. If they didn't see an option they wanted from our small list, they could add their own item.
When was the last time someone asked you what you wanted to learn about? In educational circles, we call this Personalized PD, but to offer this form of training to those who specialized in other aspects of education (i.e. data specialists, programmers, business managers) was something we had never done in our district. Would our Tech Take-Out be a blast or a bust?
We began with a Google Form for personnel to complete, then we assigned trainings based on request. Some people wanted training with Microsoft products. Some wanted Google. Some just needed to know how to access their email from home. The requests varied from simple to complex across a spectrum of topics. Our team of ten got to work scheduling sessions and organizing details so that each person's request would be met.
Best of all? Not one person had to leave the school board office.
Tech Take-Out came to them.
We met in conference rooms, individual offices and even hallways. Some sessions were one-to-one, others were formal presentations. The trainings lasted from thirty minutes to two hours, all focused on meeting the specific needs of each individual in attendance.
At the end of each session, we provided each participant with a Tech Take-Out container which included technology themed novelties such as Nerds and Smarties. We even include handmade fortune cookies with tech-related fortunes.
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop"
For my Twitter trainings, I made Twitter bird cookies using a cookie cutter designed by students at Chantilly High School that was printed from a 3D printer.
The responses we received were overwhelmingly favorable; the school board office employees were very appreciative of our time and expertise. Tech Take-Out was such a success, we plan to offer it again in the future!
If you would like more information in how to implement your own version of Tech Take-Out in your school or district, contact me through Twitter (@HCPSTinyTech) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We all learn better when we learn together!