Whilst PD in its traditional format is great and provides opportunity for getting into the guts of the issue, I also recommend what I call ‘Power PD‘. Not exactly a revolutionary concept, but one that was encouraged by a former head of Primary I once worked for. He enthused over short sessions (usually relating to Google Apps). And he was right. This is something I decided to build on and encourage, whether the ‘victims’ are aware or not.
As a tech mentor (whether unofficially or officially) one should be aware of the areas that can be improved in a colleague’s daily practice. This is particularly true for administrators who are getting to grips with a new system. Google Docs is a massive topic for a newbie which can’t be covered in one PD session, and we can’t rely on teachers/admins having time to revisit any online resources that have been provided.
As the weeks go by, it becomes apparent how colleagues are (or are not) using the tools you have in place – particularly those who are regularly communicating with the faculty. It is then we can make a mental notes of how we can help to improve this. The right approach is essential so as not to offend or seem pushy. A positive and proactive colleague will welcome your advances. Some others may need more gentle persuasion.
For example, one day I spotted a particularly busy inbox in Gmail (over a shoulder) with a large volume of mails everyday but nothing at all to organize mail. So the following day I asked if they would like any help in organizing their mails and whether they could free up 15 mins. They agreed and in that time we covered starring emails, showing unread emails first and how to apply labels and filters to mails. We also looked at how to search the inbox properly.
Someone once compared PD to Chinese water torture. A little at a time, drip drip drip. Relentless. It could even be as little as a passing comment in the canteen – “Hey, I saw you did XXXX the other day, did you know you could do XXXX instead?”. Little do they know it is all part of your elaborate PD strategy
- Keep an open eye on the way colleagues use the tools you have in place.
- Suggest a short 15 minute session focused on one particular thing.
- Repeat ad nauseam