Increasing teacher capacity by using technology to communicate, collaborate and reflect.

by Kristin Donley

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Introduction

When it comes to using best practices, we get every stakeholder involved – teachers, students, and community members – and ask them to use new tools in many different ways. We use online platforms in three broad ways – to communicate, collaborate, and reflect. And importantly, I have the whole-hearted support of my principal to use these tools in teacher practice as a way to model it for students.

-We use a site like Populr.me to make communication more efficient and less threatening to teachers who may be less comfortable using computers. It enables you to put links to several apps in one place and make moving from one to another seamless.

-We put collaboration technologies at the center of the school’s decision-making process. If we need to all input in advance of a school-wide meeting, we ask everyone to post their ideas in advance so we all know what everyone else feels about an issue. Then, when we get together to meet, we can hit the ground running and have a more substantive discussion about what is most important to people.

-For reflection, I use an integrated Google doc to notate what I see in the classroom. Teachers can then respond to my comments in advance of us meeting to discuss classroom practice together.

What results from faculty and administration using these tools in their own practice, is a clearer, more practical recognition of the value of these tools for students to communicate, collaborate, and reflect.

NOTE: This strategy contributed by Jerry Anderson and Kristin Donley

Reflections

What I did well…

I was a good teacher leader role model as I worked with Dr. Jerry Anderson, Monarch’s principal, to model best practices and to make myself available for further trainings. I also created a resource website for our community and was available to co-teach with teachers who needed some extra confidence in integrating technology.

What I would do more of or differently…

I would have advocated for more resources from the district as it is hard to be a full time teacher and volunteer as a technology integration specialist. Finding ways to spread out the work is critical, especially in times of low funding and resources. Additionally, I would have worked more with our technology dream team committee to create a better system within our teacher leaders to help with educational technology integration and trainings.

I still want to grow this practice by…

I will continue to grow this practice by 1) continuing to update the resource website, 2) continuing to present and go to educational technology conferences to be on the cutting-edge, and, 3) find better ways to share my knowledge.

About Kristin Donley

Kristin Donley is certified in secondary science and STEM in the state of Colorado. She has 23 years of experience and currently teaches AP-Univers...

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