iInnovate ReMix

Expanding the digital toolbox of every educator at SRHS

"More than being set free from these binding ideas, transformation theory also holds that the person finally understands how they were held hostage by previous beliefs, which allows them to consciously choose differently in new situations." (Napolitano, 2013, p.4)

A Brief Glimpse at South Rowan High School

Rowan-Salisbury Schools' strategic plan focuses on the creation of collaborative, relevant, personalized, and digitally connected learning environments in every classroom. South Rowan High School is a rural, community school that has been deeply rooted in traditional teacher centered instruction with limited access to digital tools. The 2014-2015 school year has been a year of change for South Rowan. Beginning with a new principal and including a 1:1 laptop deployment, teachers have been asked to make a giant leap into an entirely different mindset of instruction. This instructional shift has necessitated powerful professional development that challenges and supports every teacher at South Rowan High School. The skills necessary to make this leap impact every child, across every required standard in every classroom.
"It is hard to change traditional schools when they are familiar to everyone - even if they seem inefficient and outdated." (Hargraves & Shirley, 2012, p.26)
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"The 21st Century Classroom not only has modern tools, equipment and content but it includes a teacher trained to use the tools effectively with innovative teaching approaches that integrates the interactivity and engaging content that technology brings to curriculum." (Bajpai, 2013)

Meet the iInnovate Team

The iInnovate team was selected in October as a team of teachers identified to be potential digital leaders. This team engaged in intense professional development on varied technological tools with embedded follow-up sharing sessions. The vision for the team was to create digital ambassadors that would share their knowledge in PLC dialogue as well as throughout all of the classrooms at South Rowan High School. Additionally, the iInnovate team was designed to be a rich professional learning community rooted in the sharing of ideas as it relates to the use of technological tools to create collaborative, relevant and personalized learning experiences for all students. Finally, the end of goal of the team is to allow teachers to reflect, plan and implement instructional strategies based on the TPACK intersection (Borthwick et al., 2008).
"Our point here is that the full range of possibilities should be employed, matching the tool to the pedagogical goal and need." (Borthwick et al., 2008)
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Technology Mid-Year Reflection

In February, the administrative team at SRHS held individual data conferences with every staff member. During these conferences, staff members reflected on their experiences first semester. Our lowest ability level teachers felt that they needed more intense support in how to infuse technology into the instructional experience. Feedback from these conferences supported the need for a professional development model that tiered instruction and provided one on one support for teachers in need. Additionally, classroom walkthrough data and observations demonstrated an increasing gap in engaging instruction between teachers based on ability level.
"Consider this! If the strategies that teachers learn are mostly lectures and explicit direct instruction, then it is not realistic to expect them to change the learning environment and how they teach right away. Change takes time." (Bray & McClaskey, 2015)

iInnovate Remix Emerges

A professional development model was created to address the needs of our lowest tier of tech learners. The link below is the Google Document created by the instructional team during a planning session that summarizes the model.

iInnovate Remix consists of two levels of support. Tech Raid Tuesdays would be professional development sessions after school. These sessions are open to all teachers and cover 2-3 tools grouped by their typical uses. The second level of support are paired tech coaches with our 10 lowest tiered tech learners.

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iInnovate Travels to NCTIES

The picture above shows the iInnovate team from both South Rowan and Jesse Carson High School (another local high school) at the NCTIES conference in March, 2015. The members of the SRHS iInnovate team used this conference to expand their own digital toolboxes as well as to be a part of model tech educator sessions in order to shape their future presentations. After the team returned, the members added their chosen topics to the iInnovate Remix plan linked above in the previous section based upon their own strengths and experiences.
"Upstart and out-stretched innovation overtakes incremental improvement." (Hargraves & Shirley, 2012, p.23)

Here We Go...

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The above email was sent to iInnovate team members before Spring Break to detail the timeline upon returning to school.
"Change agents are individuals who have a strong moral purpose and have the ability to skillfully engage in the process of change." (Napolitano, 2013, p.7)

Tech Coaches/Tech Learners

On Monday, April 6th three administrators split up the list of tech learners that had been identified as a part of our lowest tier of technology integration due to actual teacher ability. The administrators personally met with each tech learner to explain that they would be receiving a tech coach to support them for the remainder of the school year. This tech coach would meet with them weekly and could address any basic needs that they currently had. The vision of the coach/learner model is an attempt to model personalized learning for teachers. In this model, "instruction is paced to learning needs, tailored to learning preferences, and tailored to the specific interests of different learners" (Bray & McClaskey, 2013). Additionally, these learners would be expected to attend the Tuesday Tech Raid sessions and their tech coach would support them in the integration of the tools learned.

After the conversation with the tech learners, the administrator then met with the tech coach to inform them of their assigned tech learner. Due to the implementation of content specific common planning as well as bi-weekly data driven content specific professional learning communities, the iInnovate team and administration agreed that tech coaches and tech learners would not be matched by content. The thoughts behind this were that cross curricular connections would be fostered in a non-threatening environment.

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Early Feedback - Week Two Surveys

Two surveys (one for tech coaches, one for tech learners) were created to assess the early progress of the tech coaching model. Surveys were administered using Google Forms. Feedback is summarized in the links below:

How have iInnovate and Tech Coaching impacted you as an educator this year?

SRHS iInnovate and Tech Coaching

My Reflection

iInnovate is a model that I began using in my previous school and altered to fit the needs of South Rowan High School. iInnovate Remix was an extension of this model. The ambassadors created were challenged to design and deliver engaging professional development sessions for introductory level learners. Additionally, they were asked to become peer coaches for the one-on-one support of our lowest tier of teachers as it relates to digital ability.

The Tech Raids have been successful thus far based on classroom walkthrough data that illustrates an increase in digital tools to support instruction in previously limited classrooms. Additionally, the iInnovate team has provided weekly updates that illustrate an increase in the number of staff members reaching out to their peers regarding specific tools. The model of using a follow-up sharing session has increased the confidence of all staff members participating.

As illustrated above in the Week 2 feedback, the tech coaching piece has had a steeper learning curve. We will continue to focus on coaching practices with our iInnovate team. We also will ask for bi-weekly survey feedback in lieu of the originally planned week 2 feedback and week 8 feedback. In order to effectively implement this model, we must attempt to overcome the obstacles that comes with working with varied levels of adult learners.

"In general, a positive climate is one that engenders respect, cooperation, trust, and a shared responsibility for the educational goals that exist there." (Hinduja & Patchin, 2012, p.10)
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The above picture is of the first Tech Raid Tuesday held April 14, 2015.

The Transformation of South Rowan High School...To Be Continued