Planning Technology PD for Administrators

Administrators can be a hard group to get to technology training. After school sessions don't always work well with their busy schedules. Summer can be hit and miss. So when I was given three hours of time at one of our administrators' summer retreat days, I jumped at the chance. I was told I needed to cover copyright, Clarity data and "tech tools for busy administrators." With that as my base, I went to work.

Because I only had three hours, I wanted to maximize our time together. An earlier request from some administrators was to know more about Google Classroom. So I decided to flip part of the meeting and show administrators how they could use Google Classroom and a few other tools to do the same with their staff.

Three weeks prior to our face to face meeting, I put together a Google Classroom and asked the administrators to join it. They would have three tasks to complete before our face to face meeting. When they joined Google Classroom, they were presented with their first task in the form of a question. My goal here was to show them how they could have an online discussion with their teachers.

When we had a couple of administrators who weren't exactly sure how to work in Google Classroom, I made this video to show them what they needed to do and posted that to Classroom.

Task #2 had the administrators reviewing their Clarity data. For the past three years, we have surveyed students, teachers and administrators using the Clarity survey from BrightBytes. While we have participated in the survey, we really haven't done much with the data we have received. This was one of the items we were going to discuss face to face. Since many of them hadn't been in the Clarity dashboard for a year or more, this task was really about getting them into Clarity again to familiarize themselves with the dashboard. Because each principal only has access to their school's data, this task was also about sharing the data from their building with others.

I included some supporting materials for the assistant principals and other CO admin to review. Only building principals and certain CO admin have access to Clarity data. Classroom makes it easy to share links to sites and upload PDFs or Drive files to share. Two of the links I shared were to infographics summarizing our 2015 Clarity data and our 2016 Clarity data.

The third task they had to complete was to watch an EDpuzzle on copyright. My purpose in assigning this task was twofold. First of all, I wanted then to have some background information on copyright before we met face to face. Secondly, I wanted to show them a tool that would allow them to track whether or not people actually watched a video. I've had administrators say to me, "I can't send my staff a video. They won't watch it." With this tool, you can see exactly who watched the video and how long they spent watching the video. And since EDpuzzle shares directly to Classroom, getting it to staff is simple. You can view the copyright EDpuzzle here. My EDpuzzle tutorials are available here.

The day of our face to face meeting we started with Breakout EDU. We did a game called Dr. Johnson's Lab. As with any Breakout EDU game, they had to work together to solve a series of challenges before the time expired. We debriefed after the game and discussed how they might use this with their teachers and how their teachers could use this in their classrooms.

We moved on to discuss our Clarity data and how we could assist teachers in using technology in their classrooms.

Up next was a discussion on copyright. I used Kahoot to ask a series of copyright questions. After viewing the results we discussed the answers. Kahoot is a great tool that is often used for review activities. I wanted to show them how they could use Kahoot as a fun way to have a discussion with their teachers. You can access the copyright Kahoot here. Discussion points are available here. Questions and answers came from the book, Copyright for Schools: A Practical Guide.

To finish our copyright discussion, I had them do a group activity to assess whether or not audiovisual performance rights were needed for a particular activity. I used Group Picker to divide them into groups. Each group needed to open their situation from Classroom and evaluate it based on the Audiovisual Performance Worksheet that was also distributed through Classroom. Once the groups had completed the assignment in Classroom we had two groups share their findings. In addition to having them get up and move and work in a group, I wanted to show them how Classroom could be used for group work. (The Audiovisual Performance Worksheet is available in the book, Copyright for Schools.)

For any type of professional development activity, I believe it is important to have participants reflect. Our reflection activity for the day was Speed Dating. For Speed Dating, divide your group into two lines facing each other. Give them a topic and two minutes to discuss. Then have them rotate so they have a new partner. Our reflection topics included: Breakout EDU - how could you use it as an administrator; Clarity - what goals do you need to set for your building; copyright - one new thing learned.

Finally, I brought them all back together to explain the method for my madness of that day. I encouraged them to think of themselves as the instructional leaders for their building. Every time they get up in front of their teachers they need to seize that as an opportunity to model what good teaching looks like. We talked about the next opportunity they would have in front of their teachers: the back to school meeting. I shared with them that this year would be my twenty-third back to school meeting. And in that 23 years, technology has changed drastically, but the back to school meeting looks virtually the same. Twenty-three years ago I was given a stack of mimeographed papers that was read to me word for word. Today, I sit through a Google Slides presentation that is read to me word for word and takes up two hours of my time. It doesn't have to be that way. My goal in structuring this admin training the way I did was to show them how they could structure a staff meeting differently. They could use Classroom as a communication tool with staff. They could use EDpuzzle to have staff watch a video and know who actually watched the video. They could use Kahoot to start a discussion. They could use Breakout EDU as a team building activity. They could use Speed Dating as a reflection activity. I really challenged them. Selfishly, I want a better back to school meeting experience. A better faculty meeting experience. But more importantly, I want them to take their roles as instructional leaders of their buildings seriously.

Since that day in June, I have had several administrators contact me wanting help setting up Google Classroom. Others have contacted me regarding the copyright information that I continued to add to the Google Classroom. Others have contacted me about doing a Breakout EDU game with their staff as a team building activity at their back to school meetings. Another said they had created a Kahoot to use with their staff. So while we are still a few days away from our official back to school meetings, I think what I said got them thinking. I challenged them to do things differently and hopefully they will put that into practice. We shall see!


  1. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing all the details of the training. It's evident you put a lot of time and thought into this training and I'm so glad to hear it was so well received.


Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting on my blog!