2016 Technology Boot Camp

Tech Boot CampAfter spending the last several weeks shuffling times and dates to ensure our 2016 Technology Boot Camp meets as many of our teacher’s summer schedules as possible, I finally had some time to reflect on what a great week this be for all involved.

Our first attempt (August, 2015) at delivering differentiated professional development at Garnet Valley, on very a important and a very needed topic – purposeful classroom technology integration, was a huge success by any measure. We saw 307 teachers find time in their busy summer schedules to facilitate and participate in technology training. Last year’s Tech Boot Camp offered 86 sessions on 24 different topics ranging from “Navigating Your MacBook Pro” for the novice teacher, to “Using the SAMR model to Enhance your Instruction” for the more experienced teacher. The schedule was built after surveying teachers on which times of day, and days of the week, were best for their professional learning.

Being a first year Technology Director, I was on edge the entire week. I stressed over everything – from whether the wireless would be fast enough to the temperature in the classrooms. In the end, the week was fantastic –  our facilitators were outstanding, helpful, and patient. Our teacher participants were equally engaged, and for the first time, were able to sit and talk with colleagues from other grade levels and departments, on technology and other topics of interest. Technology is unique in that it bridges the gap between content areas and grade levels. We saw High School AP teachers and elementary school teachers sharing the same room and conversations about teaching and learning. I don’t know how that would be possible in another forum.

We took the best of last year’s Tech Boot Camp and studied the feedback from our participants, to create, what we believe, is going to be a great week of professional learning this summer. With keeping Jason Bretzmann’s (@jbretzmann) 6 unifying CHOICE (Constant Progress, Honoring Professionals, Ongoing, Individualized, Collaborative, and Energizing) factors of PD in mind, the 2016 Technology Boot Camp at Garnet Valley features 72 sessions, on 38 different technology topics. Sessions range from “Becoming a Certified Digital Educator” and “Introduction to Schoology” for teachers new to technology, to “Breaking Down the Walls of Your Classroom with Blogging,” and “Launching 20% Time,” for those more seasoned. Additions to this year’s Tech Boot Camp include a Keynote Speaker – Dr. Darin Kapanjie (@kapanjie), as well as parent and student sessions. Internal survey data showed a need for evening sessions so we will run sessions from 6:00pm to 8:00pm each night for those teachers who would rather join us at night.

Having been a classroom teacher for many years, I know first-hand, the importance of continuing to perfect the art of teaching, and with technology changing so frequently, a teacher-centered professional development week is essential to meeting each teacher where they are in terms of their own learning.  

In a recent Edsurge article, it was noted that 61% of teachers report that they are “very dissatisfied” that they’ve never gotten the chance to choose their own PD. It is understandable with as many state mandates (many unfunded) pushed down to school districts, that many districts choose to only focus on large group PD. But with the shift to a more student-centered classroom that offers choice for students based on their differing learning needs and styles, why can’t districts make the same commitment to its teachers? This year’s Technology Boot Camp at Garnet Valley promises to meet the needs of all of our teachers by providing choice in not only the topics, but also the times and days when PD sessions will run and be repeated.

Interested in viewing the Tech Boot Camp schedule? Click HERE.

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