This past weekend, I was able to spend some time working with a number of other educators from all over the state of North Carolina on a conference that will be traveling throughout the state late this summer. This time was extraordinarily productive as we were able to generate, work through, and begin to solidify some great ideas that will become some stellar presentations for this conference. The individuals who are participating in the creation and delivery of these sessions are all enthusiastic about their daily work and the work they are doing with this conference.
Not only did we push each other in the creation of the presentations for this event, we also pushed each other to consider different ways of looking at current problems we see in our schools and in education as a whole. The time spent together gave us a chance to not only dig into this new state initiative, but also provided a chance for reflection on how we can help our fellow educators navigate through these competencies.
I wrote in my last post that I like the way the competencies are open and allow for flexibility in how they are met, but there is also a danger in putting these out without any guidance. Teachers, especially those who are not used to using the elements that are described in these competencies, might feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to understand what they are being asked to demonstrate. This is why having strong coaches who can lead the teachers through these standards is important.
We cannot continue to throw things like these competencies at teachers without providing the support they need to be successful. Teachers are already expected to plan engaging lessons, grade and return assignments in a timely manner, serve on committees, perform additional duties (lunch, bus, testing, etc.), build relationships with their students, and a multitude of other issues for anywhere from 30 kids in elementary school to 120 kids in secondary.
Setting requirements for teachers to become more digitally competent and implement those competencies into their teaching is great, but if they do not have support through a strong coach or leader then these competencies becomes just another box for teachers to check. We have to do a better job of providing effective coaches, training, and time to allow teachers to get the most out of these skills.
One place that teachers can start is by attending the Digital Teaching and Learning Competencies Conference that is being created by educators from across the state. Here you will be able to attend sessions that are aligned to the competencies and you will be able to start to digest pieces of these competencies with other educators. Because the best way to learn is through collaboration, this one day of free professional development is a great way to get teachers together to think about these competencies and how they can be used in their classes.
Click Here to Register for the Digital Teaching and Learning Competencies PD Opprotunity