Creative PD for Teachers

Bringing Teachers on Board with Professional Development by Dave Miller and Paul Heironymus from The Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium.

Dave and Paul started their session with an IVDL Jeopardy game that they use with their teachers in training.

Dave and Paul have a very creative professional development program going with team teaching projects that occur locally within their consortium.

I really like how they categorize their types of videoconferences – it’s fresh & new compared to what I’ve seen elsewhere:

  • content providers
  • team teaching
  • school initiated partnerships
  • specialized programming
  • course offerings
  • student operated classes

Dave & Paul had some video clip examples:

  • a team teaching session where students were working on writing samples
  • a virtual recital
  • a virtual college tour

In the session, we learned about the extensive PD model that they use instead of one-shot inservices. They work with a set of 75-80 teachers each year. Their consortium buildings have to send at least 2 teachers to the program each year.

The first day covers what is VC, who can I connect to, what’s a content provider, how do I mute the mic, etc. They also have to select a partner to work with before they leave in the first day.

After that, they have to do 4 videoconferences: A meeting between the teachers, a planning session with your partner teacher, an introduction of students, and the fourth is a connection with a content provider with the two classes connected.

Two months after the first day, they come back and share all the things that they did. Then they build skill sets. They learn to team teach with their partner.

Then they do 4 more videoconferences with their partner class.

This pattern is repeated for four days during the school year and a total of 16 videoconferences together in their partnerships.

They have also a pool of existing trained teachers as they repeat this process year after year. Then, these existing teachers participate in continued training. They learn to develop programs and look for partners locally, within the state, nation, and internationally. They have to offer at least 3 projects during the school year.

Their term for local district contacts is “district advocates”. I really like this term! Might borrow it!

They have an incredible reporting system as well to help districts see their use & set goals for using the equipment in the next year.

Each year at the end of the year they do an end of the year showcase and each teacher presents their favorite videoconference of the year and they make it into a DVD to share with the other schools and teachers to get ideas for new programs.

I think Paul and Dave’s model is incredible. I’ve never seen anything as comprehensive, sustained, and effective for integrating VC in the curriculum. This program is fantastically successful and I think we have a lot to learn from it! They do about 1000 connections a year with their 16 member organizations and 38 videoconference units! I think I need to set my goals a bit higher!

As with the other sessions, you can get the handouts online at the Keystone Conference website and their distance learning website is

As I was listening, I was thinking about my new online class, Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections. I was worried that requiring 1 VC a month between the partner classes would be too much, but I don’t think so! I hope that we get many people to participate in the class so we can do at least a mini-version of what Paul & Dave are doing in their county in Ohio. The class starts November 1. Registration details online here.

I hope that someday I can actually try this type of full year model with my districts as well.

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