As you design professional learning for a school or organization, it is crucial to conduct conversations with leaders and teachers to align your training vision with the organizational vision. Professional development takes on many forms— from passive listening by the participants to self-directed learning with little to no structure. Gathering data about your audience is a crucial step in designing training that supports all learners. It helps them achieve a higher level of understanding. This data can then serve as a guide as you support teachers in defining their learning goals with G Suite for Education.
Important details to uncover during your conversations with leaders and teachers should include previous professional development, experience and skill sets of the training participants, and which G Suite for Education features is available.
- Understand how learners receive professional development: To provide relevant content to your audience, contact the leadership or a few teachers in your organization via Gmail and request a brief history of professional development that has occurred both on and off-site. Format, subject matter, and time, including feedback from the learners regarding previous training, will supply a snapshot of the learners’ previous experience. Gmail Help Center
- Determine learners’ knowledge and current skill sets: Ask questions to your audience. Create a short Google Form with rated or scaled questions to assess the learner’s self-reported skills and knowledge. In addition, you may find the Training for G Suite Chrome extension and Marketplace App can be helpful tools for your learners both before and after your training. Google Forms Help Center, Training for G Suite
- Determine availability of G Suite for Education Apps and devices: Gather a list of the G Suite and tools the audience uses or has access to. This way you can focus on the products available to your learners. You may be able to discover usage history through the Admin console. Alternatively, request this information from the organization’s leadership. Finally, confirm that audience will have necessary tools and devices during the training session and ensure that sufficient wireless access is available. Apps Usage Activity Report Help Center
Start with research on the learners. One of your first priorities should be communication with leadership on the 3-year vision plan to understand the desired outcomes for the organization. Some options for support include:
- Schedule in-person meetings or a Hangout with Google Calendar, and utilize Gmail to maintain the conversation.
- Engage leadership in dialogue to discuss teacher needs based on previous professional development and learning, student population, available technology tools and devices, and the teachers’ current skills with G Suite for Education.
- Create a short survey with Google Forms to collect data on teachers and gather quick responses. You can analyze these using graphs in the “Summary of Responses” report.
- Request reports on teachers’ usage from the Admin panel, or review Training for G Suite activity.
Based on this information, determine the most appropriate professional development format while including plans for continuous training that will support learner’s needs. When aligning professional development to an organization’s vision, which elements should you consider? Existing knowledge and skill sets of the audience, Content, and topics, AND Goals and targeted learning. How might you assess the learners’ skills, knowledge, and resources available in the organization? Review Training for G Suite activities and reports, Share a short survey with Google Forms, and Request Admin console reports. What should you assess when determining professional development needs? Wireless access and participant devices, Teacher feedback on previous training.
When training teachers in person you are there to guide learning in real time. You may choose to train in large or small group sessions, through individual coaching by working with one teacher for a longer period of time, or with model lessons you deliver in classrooms so the teachers may experience a concept with students for immediate applicability.
Synchronous and Asynchronous Online Learning
Let teachers learn wherever they are. First, synchronous professional development requires all participants to have access to the Internet at the scheduled time and date, and a Google+ account to participate in a Google Hangout. You can conduct your training online by sharing your screen, engaging in dialogue about the content, and opening a chat window so teachers may jot down questions that you (or the group) may answer during the training. Google Hangouts on Air is good for both synchronous and asynchronous learning. This not only allows you to conduct your training online but Google Hangouts on Air publishes your training life and archives it on YouTube. This is a great option for people who are unable to attend the live training. However, your participants should be aware that during a Google Hangouts on Air they are being recorded. Aim to suit the variety of learners while still delivering your training within the time frame you have available. You might implement:
- One-on-one personalized support meetings.
- After hours sessions.
- In-class model lessons.
- Non-evaluative feedback for reflective growth.
When training teachers online you are available synchronously (example: live in a Google Hangout) or asynchronously (example: a video on YouTube with a link to read an article) so the audience can learn anytime and anywhere.
Blended learning is an option that allows you to curate a repository of resources housed online while also having face-to-face meetings. This allows the audience to determine the pace and timing of their learning supplemented by the in-person support. Online and blended learning offers an alternative to in-person training on busy schedules. Using Google Hangouts or YouTube Live Events to connect with your audience at a convenient time provides you and your teacher’s flexibility to learn. You may also consider using Google+ communities and Google Groups as a means to support teachers in professional development and growth. If you choose to create your own series of videos for online or blended learning, be sure to utilize the features available in the YouTube Video Editor, such as adding cards or annotations. This may also serve as an additional learning resource after in-person professional development. Teachers will appreciate an opportunity to review the content of your training before attending in-person professional development. With Google Classroom, you can make the session’s material and goals accessible in order to provide teachers the ability to access and review when it is most convenient for their schedules. For example, you can create an assignment that lists the resources you will use in the training session, as well as options for further learning. You could also create a question that tests understanding of the content, or you even open the Stream for group chat and discussion.
- Large Group Training: Often, training occurs after school with many teachers in attendance. One method involves differentiating the agenda so that learners with various skill sets can move through the content at an appropriate pace. Encourage the audience to break into groups for discussion about the content, design activities that are hands-on, and solicit feedback and questions throughout the training to ensure the audience is engaged with the material.
- Small Group Training: Working with small groups of teachers offers you an opportunity to become much more familiar with your audience and personalize the learning. Opening a conversation about the teachers’ students, specific learning goals, and a focused look at immediate issues can easily be addressed in this professional development format. The teachers may be willing to ask more questions, due in part to your ability to address individual needs.
- Modeling Lessons in the Classroom: This form of professional development involves teacher-to-teacher observation; it is not for formal leadership evaluation or employment records, but for observing an experienced trainer provide a lesson to a group of students. You can showcase specific skills, behavior management techniques, and technology integration. For the classroom teacher, it should be a chance to witness how to effectively use technology with students; this gives the teacher an opportunity to note the elements of the lesson that worked and how it can be replicated. As the Trainer, you should ask for feedback on the lesson with reflective questions, such as “How might you use this lesson format on your next unit?”
Coaching Individual Teachers
One of the most effective forms of on-going professional development is the coaching model. In this model, you train teachers in a one-to-one setting allowing you to fully personalize and address the needs of the teachers by helping teachers define their own goals. From assisting with gaining technology skills to devising lesson plans, to holding a conversation about successes and failures in the classroom, your coaching and training provide fully relevant and immediately applicable support to teachers. In this model, you can use the gradual release of responsibility method by going from modeling lessons for the teacher to providing feedback based on your observations of the teacher implementing new tools and strategies.
When introducing a topic like Google Forms in the classroom, I prefer to use whole group training. First, I get teachers started on the basics, like creating questions or identifying features they’ll need for students to use in the classroom. I usually talk about the topic for less than five minutes, then allow the audience time for self-directed learning activities so they can have a hands-on experience. I walk around the room to answer questions and get the audience to collaborate with each other about using Google Forms in their classrooms. As an instructional coach, training on new devices without knowing how to use them with students makes my teachers unhappy. So, I schedule a time with each teacher to teach a lesson using the new devices. I discuss the curriculum and topic I will be covering on that day, and I work with the teacher to ensure the learning objectives are met for the students. This way, the teachers see the devices being used with students, and the students get a chance to experience the devices and ask questions about them while I’m in the classroom.
Which method of professional development allows teachers to access recorded materials both synchronously and asynchronously? Blended and YouTube Live Events. Google Classroom could be used for in-person, online, and blended professional development. What are some of the professional development models you might use for a training? Lecture, Coaching, and Observation. In-person professional development takes on many forms. Which of the following does NOT encompass an in-person training? Google Group chat.