Digital Wave & Faculty-to-Faculty : PD at RCDS

originally written February 27, 2005 and revised August 5, 2005
last paragraph added November, 2007, to provide an updated history

digitalwavesurfer.jpg It started with Digital Wave, an expression coined by my husband in 1994 as an umbrella for the professional development workshops he and I created at RCDS. As the expression implies, the workshops specifically focused on technology. At first, Digital Wave was oriented towards exposing and teaching a few computer programs to faculty, staff and administrators from Rippowam Cisqua (where I taught) and RCDS (where Fred taught). [In 1997 I began teaching at RCDS and since 1999 have also been helping to facilitate our 1:1 program.]
[Digital Wave Surfer by Fred, 1995.]

For several years the program expanded, including at its peak some eighty-plus participants from twelve schools. As schools began to more coherently define their own take on technology, they gradually provided their own in-house workshops, and Digital Wave returned to its roots as a professional development tool for RCDS.

With the proliferation of technology at RCDS, faculty, eager to keep pace with the tools, would schedule summer vacations around summer workshops. As their overall proficiencies developed, and interest in lengthy summer workshops dissipated, multi-week workshops were replaced by one or two weeks of workshops offered immediately following the end of school in mid-June.

One such workshop, in the summer of 2004, took the logical route of having the experts (several seventh graders and one eleventh grader) teach the students (lower, middle, and upper school faculty). While this was new to the summer program, having students teach teachers was not new to RCDS. A few years earlier we had some eight students, mostly seniors, teach the professional development day workshops, and that format continued for another year or two.

The 2004-05 school year marked the introduction of Faculty-to-Faculty, a series of “laptops and lunch” sessions I organized geared to share the interests and expertise of faculty (see examples below), as well as need to know techniques (for example, how to set up electronic gradebooks, using the SmartBoard). These sessions regularly drew between six to twelve participants but there were two drawbacks – the lunch time slot was only convenient for some people (the others were out of luck), and the thirty minute time slot proved too short.

As of this posting, Digital Wave continues to go strong with June workshops and student participation. Faculty-to-Faculty, while continuing to have some lunch sessions, has branched out to include before- and after-school sessions, making it easier for more faculty from all three divisions to participate. Some examples of sessions include SketchUp, knitting, political discussion, the clay and you, and digital photography. And this year, with my instigation, five of us will participate on-campus in the three-day SMART Master’s Training Certification so that we will be able to train our faculty by providing the SMART one-day training program. We will also be certified to provide this training to other schools and organizations.

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