We just had our first mini TEC SLAM. The Mini TEC SLAM’s (Technology Ed Camp Supported Learning and Mentoring) are participant driven so staff bring items to share, questions they need answers to, or anything else. Emphasized are choice, motivation, and interactivity. Several people stopped by for answers to questions, discussing ideas, and sharing with others. I was able to share a couple new Augmented Reality ideas as well. The best part is, everyone learned from each other and discovered something they may not have known. In the craziness of the days, the TEC SLAM also provides staff with one hour that they know I will be in one place to access if they need.
The idea goes somewhat along with the SWAT team (see blog post on 12.3) concept. It was all spurred by a presentation I went to at NYSCATE 2014 that talked about Superusers of technology. In the presentation, Dr. Brenda Myers and her staff from Valhalla UFSD discussed the concept as it relates to them and their goals and mission. Basically, it takes a concerted effort on behalf of the administration, technology planning committees, technology integration committees, and curriculum and instruction teams. Trainers and users make a mutual commitment to PD and customized projects, as well as leading professional development for colleagues. They emphasize providing choice to staff, make necessary equipment available to them, and offer them an elaborate support system.
The TEC SLAMS we are doing provide just one more way of leading our staff to becoming Superusers of technology for their specific goals and needs. Just like at Valhalla, we will invest in staff, provide the equipment and resources, and be a support for mutual planning, learning, and reflection. As time, staffing, and resources tend to be variable and increasingly limited, it is important to have these creative ideas in place and functioning so that, despite external challenges, our goals can still be met.
I cannot stress enough and repeat what Dr. Myers and her team said that PEOPLE are our MOST VALUABLE resource. When we invest in the people we work, with we are investing in student development and learning. And that is our ultimate goal.
Pictured below is one of our innovative Social Workers, Kathy. She attended the SLAM and worked on finishing up a social story on the iPad and getting creative when it came to printing it out. In just ten minutes, she learned something, shared something, produced something, and has something now to bring back to her colleagues. Nice job, Kathy! She is well on her way to becoming a SUPERUSER!
A special thank you to Superintendent Myers and her staff for communicating with me after the workshop and getting me the resources and materials I needed. For more information or ideas on how to get creative with your professional development, please contact me at anytime!
Mark Giufre (deTechtive1) 2013