Tag Archives: staff

Feb 21st PD day: It’s all about Google

teacher laptop courseOn Feb 21st, 2014, our 7-12 staff have a professional development day scheduled – and this year, the focus will be on differentiating with technology.

Q1. What is the theme/topic? and how did we come up with that?
A1. Last month we met with a group of teachers from our district PD team along with representation from the teachers association. We started by brainstorming ideas/topics, and after reviewing, the group felt the most common tool for all content areas was Google Apps.

Q2. When and where is the PD day?
A2.  Valley Southwoods Freshman High School, Friday, Feb 21st,  8am to 3:30pm

Q3. What is the format? 
A3.  It will be conference style – meaning that multiple concurrent sessions will be available through out the day.  Each staff member will be allowed to select each session based on their own individual needs.

Q4. What types of sessions will be available?
A4.  We are working through specific sessions titles and descriptions now, but many of the sessions will be around Google Apps, although we’re also looking at sessions on Infinite Campus Grade Book and assessment using student phones/mobile devices.

Q5. Will the sessions be hands-on?
A5.  Most sessions will have some time dedicated to hands-on, although some sessions will demonstration only.  We will have have each session labeled clearly so you’ll know what to expect.

Q6.  Will staff need to bring their laptops?
A6.  Yes.  If you do not have a district issued laptop, you are welcome to bring your own personal device or check one out from your school’s existing laptop carts.

Q7. Are all the sessions at the beginner level? or will there be leveled sessions? 
A7.  We will have a mixture of sessions – both introductory and advanced.  Staff will have the option to select the level that is appropriate for themselves.

Q8. Will each session/course be offered just once?
A8.  We are looking to offer each course as often as its needed, based on an interest survey that we are conducting with staff during the month of December.

Q9. Are all the trainers internal staff members?  or are we hiring outside individuals?
A9.  The sessions on Feb 21st will be conducted by a mixture of internal staff members, external resources, and AEA resources.  In most of our previous technology sessions, we have relied on only internal staff members as trainers.  However, for the Google Apps topics, we feel that we need assistance from outside resources for this topic.  In addition, once we announced that we would provide leveled courses – many of our previous trainers commented that they would like to attend the advanced sessions instead of serving as a trainer.  

Q10. How are we paying for this? Are we using General Fund dollars?
A10.  We are NOT using General Fund dollars, but instead are using District In Need of Assistance Funds that are dedicated towards providing training and professional development for staff.

Q11.  Will staff have to register for specific courses prior to Feb 21st?
A11.  Yes, staff will be asked to register online for their courses – prior to the Feb 21st event.

What our staff thinks of 1:1

During the month of April, we released a short survey to parents, students, and staff inquiring about their interest in 1:1 (providing a mobile technology device to students for educational purposes).

We asked only three questions related to 1:1…

Q1. Are you interested in the district pursuing 1:1 for students? (Yes, No, or Not Sure)

Q2. What do you see as the advantages or benefits for why we should investigate 1:1? (a mobile device for students)

Q3. What do you see as the concerns or problems related to 1:1? (providing a mobile device for students)

Download/View the full survey responses from staff 


Below is a summary of the most frequent staff comments along with sample quotes….


“I teach special education, and I can see this benefiting all of my students with no disadvantages.”

“Student struggle with writing and this would help them”

“I could provide better feedback to my students”

“I think it would allow us to raise expectations for students”

“It would help students become better organized, encourage teachers to bring more technology use into the classroom and it would reduce the time wait for students to get logged in”

“We can move away from purchasing textbooks.  We will be able to create assessments that be graded more quickly and efficiently.”

“It would be far easier to differentiate for each student”


“Really, I see it as a convenience factor. It’s a way to get standardized testing done and to go paperless.  It’s also a way to appease parents.  While that’s noble, is that really what we should invest in at the moment?”

“The only advantage…. prestige for the district”

“I think we would have issues with adequate tech support”

“Another screen that will increase their already distracted behavior”

“Our school has so many laptop computers and computer labs for our students – I just do not see the need at this time”

“The districts that are using 1:1 don’t have nearly the number of computers we do, so they needed them for a different reason…. we don’t have a reason.”

“How much worse will classroom management be?”

“More iPads in the classroom? Yes.  One for every student?  Waste of student time and taxpayer dollars.”

Other quotes…

“Our kids are digital natives… I think 1:1 is more of a WHEN than IF”

“I would not be adverse to 1:1 laptop situation… BUT I think WDMCS needs to think carefully through all scenarios BEFORE implementation.”