Pitching the Prof Dev Idea

Several weeks after emailing (at the request of the Assistant Head of School) faculty with my proposal for Professional Development Day, I was asked to make a presentation to the Curriculum Council. This group consists of all the department and division heads, the Assistant Head of School and the Associate Head of School (with occasional visits by the Head of School, though not this time round). What follows is my pitch.

The digital world outside of school has seen rapid change, so much so that to many of us the digital lives of our students remain a bit of a mystery – not much more than trademark names or coined terms. Our students are the natives, growing up living and breathing this stuff, and we are the immigrants, semi-aware but not truly literate.

My idea is for the natives to inform the immigrants by showing and explaining their digital world to us, the people charged with helping them develop and learn.

As a school we have already shown an interest by our 9-year old 1:1 program and extensive commitment to utilizing technology, but on a digital continuum this is but scratching the surface. What do we really know about how our students engage with digital media and why?

14 applications – 14 students
mixture of presentations and hands-on exploration
followed by discussion and reflection
concluding with sharing

Fine-tuned by a small committee of faculty and these students
with input from outside experts

Please consider that if this is something we decide to go ahead with, we should get started before the holidays and vacations, so there is ample time to prepare.

In anticipation of at least one faculty member who usually asks probing questions, the evening before the presentation I role-played with my husband.

In response to a potential question (which wound up being asked) regarding student fluency (or the lack of it) with school applications:

• Kids may not seem so savvy with certain school apps, but they have fluency with other apps, about which most of us are unfamiliar and which the kids use in their lives beyond school.

In response to a potential comment (which wasn’t made) regarding faculty knowing a lot about the applications in question:

• Yes, you do know a lot (though maybe not as much as you think ;-), but there are others who do not know as much, and we could use your assistance to help make the day a success.

This was one of three ideas for Prof Dev Day, with the other two related to Diversity and to Sustainability. The Assistant Head has suggested we might present all three, with faculty being able to choose among them on that day. At that suggestion, I deferred my proposal, explaining that to make the preparation worthwhile and the participation useful, the idea required a full day with full faculty participation.

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