We did it! We gamified a PD session.
It took many hours, constant iterations, and huge amounts of collaboration. But we did it, and it was worth it.
In my new role at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi, I work on the Learning Innovation and Technology team as a K-12 Learning Innovation and Technology Coach. This year we are in charge of a few professional development sessions with staff as part of our new professional growth model. Our school is about to transition onto a new campus after calling our current one home for just over 50 years. A lot is on everyone's minds at the moment and we wanted to make our session with teachers fun and meaningful.
While some teachers have had the opportunity to visit the new campus as the finishing touches are added, most have not physically been on site while it has looked and felt like a school. The Director of Learning, Innovation, and Technology (Christina Devitt), the other K-12 Learning, Innovation, and Technology Coach (Jenny Derby) and I wanted to help everyone imagine our new spaces while keeping with the theme from the beginning of the year. The idea of School Hunters: The Game was inspired partially by the work of Jane McGonigal. A designer of "games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems." Her book Imaginable was part of how this game came together.
We started brainstorming... and if you've ever worked with me you know that means POST-ITS!
We wanted the teachers to experience something, rather than just sit in a room and listen to us talk while they felt like they could be doing something more practical. We decided to make a 360 degree VR tour of the new campus on ThingLink with the help of our Elementary School Artful Innovator, Jane Ross, and use it as a virtual game board - to be mixed with physical elements for game play, social interaction, and imagining.
In this virtual world, we added keys. Any time a teacher found a key they would complete a scenario card. The cards were based on personas we had previously talked about in other staff meetings. Each scenario card was like a mini game itself - loosely based on charades, Pictionary, using AI, or just listing questions or ideas.
Each time they completed a scenario card, they earned a token from the game master. All 12 tokens made a riddle at the end they needed to solve, which was an idea from Jane McGonigal: Imagination leads to resilience, and challenges can be opportunities.
The feedback we have been receiving this week has been rewarding. It was no easy feat to put this all together in a relatively short period of time. We have heard reports like:
I am currently completing EDU615 at Ferrum College - Instructional Leadership, Coaching, and Evaluation. For my recent assignment I was asked to compare three coaching cycles and speak about trust, relationships, and reflection methods in each of them. Below is what I came up with.
What I would like to do next is take away the written reflection elements of it and create a chart that compares different cycles in a simple and visual way. What do you suggest adding to the table?
CKaardal EDU615 Coaching Model Comparison by Cindy Kaardal
I am officially 1.5 years into my coaching journey. I love this role and am constantly growing. At a PYP school, one of my jobs is to sit with teams (including specialists) as they project their next unit of inquiry. Today, sitting with a team, it dawned on me to try it in a different way.
What I usually do:
Coordinators give specialists and coaches a piece of poster paper with unit information on it - central idea, lines of inquiry, concepts, learner profile, and approaches to learning. Before the meeting I sit and brainstorm ideas for technology integration in the unit. The specialists all then present their ideas to the grade level and initiate conversations and collaborative opportunities. These meetings are mainly for specialists but I found value in presenting my ideas to the team members as well... until recently when I felt repetitive and preachy.
What I am thinking:
What if I took the structure of a coaching conversation and flipped my presentation.
Ask the teachers how they integrated technology in this unit last year. What worked? What didn't? What options do they have this year? And what else? Do you want more suggestions from me? Anything you might need help with? (in this case it would be with a tech integration lens, but the structure could work with innovation coaching, or coaching in any subject, I would think).
I have more meetings like this with different grade levels later this week and am wondering if I should mix it up. This approach might take longer... It won't align with the specialist teachers approach (but I am not a specialist teacher)...
My thinking is that if the teachers go through this process they might be more likely to implement the ideas they come up with. If I stand there preaching tools, etc. most of them will still do whatever they're going to do.
Are you a coach or someone who projects a unit with a group of teachers? What successes have you had in the past?
Alyssa’s class is eager to continue having ownership over their learning. I witnessed first hand the excitement the students had when they got to choose how they learned. This multimodal approach takes a bit of planning, but works for all subject areas and keeps the students actively engaged in a meaningful way.
As Diana is new to Chadwick International, an easy way to teach math was with the whole class doing the same activity. However, even with the hands-on activities, it was difficult for Diana to confer regularly with all of her students. It was also difficult to check to see if the students were really understanding the lesson through the games. Diana wanted to be able to hold herself accountable to incorporate the standards for mathematics and hold students accountable to their learning. Diana was also keen to step up student agency opportunities in her class in order to allow students to have choice, voice, and ownership with their learning.
As I stated in my last post, I have recently started a new job as an EdTech Integration Coach.
I have been keen to dive into the ins and outs of this new role. It is a learning curve, but one I am so excited to get into with my new colleagues. I have started the Google Certified Coach program, bought a few books (mentioned in my last post), and have signed up for multiple PD's my school is hosting based on coaching - what a year to be here! Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching and Cognitive Coaching being the two big names we are working with this year. In short - I am excited to learn all that I can about being a coach.
Because I know my knowledge base is small right now - I have some questions for all of you experienced coaches...
I have started formal coaching cycles with 9 teachers at my school. I felt like I had great energy and lots to collaborate on... We have identified their goals, we have worked through possible solutions, they have chosen tools to work on this solution, I have been into their classroom to observe, we have reflected on those observations and made next steps.... and now I am feeling like...
My check ins with teachers are becoming shorter - because they are on a roll and know what they're doing next. I don't want to waste their time. I am still consistently meeting with them to be a collaborator and have them voice next steps, etc...
I want to back off and let them fly, as I would with my students. I want to give them breathing room and time to think and experiment. But I also want to keep committed to them in this coaching cycle. I just feel a little stuck at this point.
Last year when I was applying for jobs I made the conscious effort to decline classroom job interviews, and stick to my instinct about moving into the world of EdTech coaching. The universe provided, and in a few short weeks I accepted a Technology Integration Coach job at Chadwick International (Korea) to work in a department of 2 for the Village School (elementary).
The beginning of the year was a whirlwind. Having 2 weeks of quarantine after entering the country and starting with online orientation made the foundations of my job (relationships) a little difficult. Even once we were completing the end of orientation in person, we still had to adhere to social distancing and smaller groups. The natural act of sitting beside people and "accidentally making a new friend" was pretty impossible.
For the first two months I have been attending meetings to give a little peep of a suggestion here at there, teaching a couple of digital citizenship lessons to kick off the year, and helping to administer MAP Tests in grades 1-5. We also had an IB Evidencing Learning workshop which gave me another good chance to connect with colleagues.
I also began putting together a monthly Coaches Corner. I feel this makes the coaches and pedagogy leaders in our school more visible. Each month I am asking them for submissions, then on the first of the month I email it out to the Village School and also post them in common staff areas such as collaboration rooms, staff rooms, and even bathrooms. Within this, I created a #ChadwickSlowChat on Twitter. Each month I am asking a different teacher to pose a question to our community. The start has been slow, but I am hoping to watch it grow!
This week we began our new Simply Certified sessions. This week we started with "All About Apple" where I reviewed all of the types of certifications teachers can get from Apple. At least 3 more teachers are already Apple Teachers from this session, and many more have started their journey by earning badges! Coming soon is Google, and I also sent a document out with information about Seesaw, Nearpod, Flipgrid, and more.
Now is the natural time that I have people/teams approaching me with bigger ideas. I am excited about their eagerness and am happy to dive in with them. However, as I am new to coaching, I just want to know all of the things. I bought 3 books to help guide me. The EdTech Coaching Primer by Ashley McBride, Courageous Adventures by Jennie Magiera, and The Complete EdTech Coach by Adam Juarez and Katherine Goyette. These have been a great place to start, but I found myself wanting/needing some sort of organization to document and help guide my conversations with teachers.
I started by modifying one from Magiera, and then scratched it completely and began from what was in my heart. However, a few elements still remain the same. I need to try to evidence where they are so I can meet them there. Then I need to try to outline possible solutions and key people, resources, blogs, and links that might help them get there. Teachers have a lot on their plate and if I can do some of the heavy lifting for them, I am willing (and excited!) to do that.
Below is what I have started. I spent the end of this week filling them in for people I have spoken to already, and tweaked things as I went along. This doesn't work - don't need this - need to add this. I will continue this tweaking process as I go along
While this is a large learning curve for me, and creating a coaching culture within a school may not be easy, I am excited to see where our team takes it!
Passionate Educator and Innovation Coach.