Faculty Development

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Dr. Gary Ackerman specializes in supporting faculty as they design technology-rich and authentic learning, as well as the school and technology leaders who are colleagues of those teachers.

Beginning in 2018, Gary is offering four specific experiences that can be customized for the needs and goals of your school.

  • Own Your Learning is an energizing introduction to flexible teaching and learning

  • Technology Management is an on-going structured dialog between educators and technologists

  • Adapting OER for Today's Classroom supports teachers who face expanding curriculum needs

  • Classrooms: Physical Places and Online Spaces introduces school and technology leaders and their teachers to the design of effective online ad hybrid classrooms

    All of these workshops are grounded in the emerging expectation that students have flexible options for demonstrating proficiency.
  • One of the difficulties when implementing any interest-based curriculum is having students and teachers understand the role of students’ voice in the curriculum. In this series of 30-minute workshops, your student and teacher are introduced to student autonomy in an engaging manner.

    The presenters are Chris Castro, a performer from Leominster, Massachusetts and Dr. Gary Ackerman, an educational professional who lives in Vermont and works in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

    It is recommended that you choose the Opening Assembly and then pick the workshops that would best meet the needs of your school. This is best organized as a 3-hour series of workshops for students and or teachers; some of these activities are amenable to advisory-based activities for on-going follow-up to the assembly and

    Opening Assembly

    In this entertaining performance appropriate for middle school and high school students, the audience gains experience with one student’s passion.

    A Conversation with Chris

    An opportunity for students and teachers to participate in a facilitated talk with Chris.

    One Experience, Two Perspectives

    Chris and Gary form the panel and an adult moderates the panel of two. Initial prompt: “You both have experience with both types of education. What is the difference?”

    Barriers to Owning Your Learning

    A 30-minute to discuss potential this issue is a proactive manner.

    Brainstorming Projects

    Participants brainstorm “next steps” for the students in the examples.

    What If I Don’t Have a Passion?

    Several strategies for finding and pursuing interests are developing in this 30-minute protocol.

    Making Space for Students to Own Their Learning

    A presentation and brainstorming protocol around scheduling options for self-directed study.

    But This is Science Class…

    This facilitated discussion recognizes the reality of contradictory curriculum expectations.

    So, Just What is the Difference?

    This presentation discuses “student-centered,” “differentiated,” “personalized,” “flexible,” “competency-based,” and “proficiency-based” as applied to teaching and learning.
    The IT professionals who work in school are often “imported” from other industries, so they do not understand the differences between students and teachers and the other populations they have served. Further, educators (even those who are “tech-savvy”) do not understand the nature of enterprise networks and the complexity of managing that infrastructure.

    Organized around the ideas in Gary’s book Efficacious Technology Management: A Guide for School Leaders, this series of facilitated discussions is designed to improve collaboration between the many individuals responsible for technology planning.

    These nine 50-minute sessions are designed to engage a group of technology planners over the course of a school year. Most are amenable to be conducted via video conference.

    Appropriate – Proper – Reasonable

    Efficacious IT in school are marked by these three characteristics. By answering a series of prompts, the participants will define what they seek to accomplish with technology in their school and seek to understand the problem of school IT from others’ perspective.
    appropriate, proper, and reasonable continua
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Populations of IT Users and their Perceptions

    Individuals with experience managing IT for adult users may find the patterns of IT use by students and teachers to be unfamiliar. These differences are discussed and two theories that predict and explain IT use are presented.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Humans, Technology, and School

    Technology affects humans in subtle ways. The implications for schools and the IT that is in them is discussed in this session.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    TPACK: A Framework to Understand Technology

    TPACK is often overlooked by school IT planners. This session introduces the model and suggests how it can be used to understand the many aspects of IT in schools.
    technological, pedagogical, and content knoweldge
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Training, Learning, Design

    A comprehensive professional development program will provide educators the opportunity to be trained to use technology, to learn about it, and to design lessons using it.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Sufficiency of Devices

    Technology professionals can select from far more types of devices than they ever could before. The session deconstructs sufficiency as a multi-dimensional factor that prepares IT managers to make sound decisions.

    IT Networks

    This session focuses on the information about the network that school leaders should know and what needs to be protected as well as strategies for preparing for efficient and disaster-resistant network planning.

    Systems to Provide

    Many network services and data services are moving to the web. In this session, services that teaching and learning are described.

    Technology Personnel

    The “tech guy” has been replaced with men and women who have diverse and specialized technology knowledge. These are differentiated and described.

    “Open” is the term applied to the efforts to create and share information with copyrights that allow for others to use the information without paying a fee or without asking for further permissions. Open educational resources are generally created by instructors (in K-12 or in college) and released through a variety of sites. User of these sites can search, download, edit, and use vast collections of instructional materials.

    In this series of 50-minute workshops, teachers (and school and technology leaders) are introduced to the varieties of “open” and explore some of the OER sites. Participants extend their knowledge to creating a local version of an OER site. The exact configuration of the sessions will be determined by consultations with school and technology leaders, but Gary is prepared to take any school through the complete process of designed and deploying an OER curriculum repository created by local faculty. This includes building awareness, facilitating IT decisions, training faculty, and supporting initial design efforts.

    Read more about curriculum repositories at Gary's "Curriculum Repository" blog post.

    OER Defined and Experienced

    Participants are introduced to the variety of open licenses and their rights under open licenses are contrasted with traditional copyrights. Participants are also introduced to some of the OER sites with the greatest number of resources; options for creating and connecting online classrooms are introduced as well.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Accessing and Editing OER

    OER communities are based on four aspects of open resources:
    1. Reuse – the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form
    2. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself
    3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new
    4. Redistribute – the right to make and share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

    Participants consider various OER materials in light of these characteristics.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp

    Designing a Local OER

    (for technology professionals) This one-to-one consultation provides advice and guidance as local IT professionals establish a proof-on-concept configuration of local curriculum repository that will serve as your local OER site. As the details of this session depend on the circumstances of your local resources, it may extend to three hours.
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .pdf
    The Creative Commons version of the presentation in .odp


    A small number of individuals who are identified as “tech-savvy” will begin using the Local OER site, and provide feedback to refine it. Gary will led the group through an in-person beta-testing protocol, then have selected users continue the test. Results of the test are then compiled and reported to school and technology leaders, along with the testers.
    typical beta-testing arrangement


    (for technology professionals and OER managers) The feedback from beta-testers is used to reconfigure the local OER community and the individuals who will be teacher-leaders are trained in how to manage the system. This session may also expand to three hours. The deliverable will be a management plan indicating:

  • Expected configurations
  • Super-administrator and responsibilities
  • Administrators and responsibilities
  • Educator support individuals
  • Roadmap for future features

    Using Your OER

    These sessions (scheduled as needed for your community) support teachers as they begin to develop your OER site. Focusing questions for these sessions include:

  • What new resources do we need?
  • What resources need to be revised to reflect current initiatives?
  • How do we make our OER repository useful?

    The deliverable will be an OER repository populated with locally relevant resources, and a faculty who has experience contributing to the repository.

  • Two important changes are driving proactive educators to evaluate what they are doing and where they do it. First, the Standard Model of instruction is being replaced by teaching for deeper learning. Second, the information technology available to teachers and learners is changing how we interact and how we access and create information. In this series of workshops, each three hours in length, these forces are explored in depth and teachers will develop strategies for adopting relevant and useful technologies and adapting what they do to reflect the role of technology in professionals’ work. This exploration will include face-to-face, online, and hybrid methods.

    Old (Fordist) and New (ICT) Models

    During the Industrial Age, effective businesses or organizations relied on standardized procedures, and schools reflected that reality. Discoveries in the cognitive and learning sciences lead to the conclusion the Standard Model of education does not give students’ the experiences they need for Knowledge Age organizations, and it does not accurately reflect how humans learn. All of these ideas are explored and alternative models and the rationale for each is considered.

    Sites – LMS – PLE

    There are many options for supporting teaching and learning online. Standalone web sites can be used for teaching and learning; many schools provide a learning management system, and personal learning environments are emerging as a student-centered alternative to LMS classrooms. Examples of all three are presented, and (after consultation with local school and technology leaders) participants will begin exploring the tools and navigation of the LMS or a PLE platform recommended and supported by the school’s technology team.

    Online Information and Assessment

    This session helps teachers understand how to upload files, create pages, and embed media in LMS and PLE platforms. Also, options for computer-graded assessments, teacher-graded assignments, and peer-assessed work are demonstrated. Teachers gain experience using all of these tools.

    Active Learning at a Distance

    Teachers will use blogs, wikis, chat, video, and other tools to facilitate interaction (both synchronous and asynchronous) using LMS or PLE tools.

    Connecting Online and In-person Classrooms

    This session focuses on developing strategies for using online tools to support active learning, proficiency-based assessment, personalized learning, and other curriculum initiatives.

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    (c) 2017 Dr. Gary L. Ackerman
    Last updated: November 26, 2017