All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Implementing Blended Professional Development

This fourth and final article on blended professional development (PD) is an interview with Dr. Kristin Ruedel, author of PowerUp Your Professional Development and PowerUp Your School.

KR (Kristin Ruedel): Before we start, I just want to say how valuable your previous three articles on blended PD have been (i.e., overview, assessing readiness, and planning). Now I’m ready for your first question.

JZ (Judith Zorfass): I’m thinking of a PD facilitator who’s planning to use the PowerUp resources for blended PD. What resources would be useful to introduce the PowerUp prior to the workshop?

KR: PowerUp includes a ready-made flyer, brochure and email template for PD facilitators to distribute (and modify, as needed). These materials are designed to familiarize teachers, specialists, and school leaders with PowerUp. PD facilitators can also share links to PowerUp’s archived webinars to help teachers get an idea of the resources offered on PowerUp.

JZ: It’s interesting that you mentioned the need to introduce PowerUp to different audiences.. Were you deliberately being so inclusive?

KR: Yes, we definitely were inclusive. The opportunity to grow and learn as professionals touches everyone in the schools. To have the greatest leverage with technology on student learning, it must be a school-wide endeavor that includes general education teachers, special education teachers/specialists, computer and technology specialists, and school leaders.

JZ: Who do you mean when you use the term school leaders?

KR: “School leaders” refers to principals, assistant principals, and those from general and special education. Also, it is critical to include those representing technology, curriculum, and assessment.

JZ: I assume that you advocate for collaboration, especially around professional development.

KR: Definitely. PowerUp Your School provides clear and explicit guidance for a school-based leadership team.

JZ: Does it discuss how the leadership team can support professional development?

KR: Yes. I highly recommend Recommendation 5: Plan Professional Learning Opportunities, one of six recommendations in the Technology Implementation Practice Guide. It explains how and why school leaders need to share responsibility for building a school culture that supports continuous learning which includes supporting all staff around using and integrating technology.

JZ: Does PowerUp Your School also offer concrete suggestions for translating this recommendation into practice?

KR: Yes, the recommendations in the Practice Guide include specific action steps. These steps are further enhanced by modules for the school-leadership team to identify goals, agendas, and activities. In particular, Module 4: Supporting Your Teachers would be useful in planning PD.

JZ: Thank you so much. Any other last “nuggets” in PowerUp you’d like to share with our readers?

KR: As a matter of fact, I do have something. “My PowerUp Action Steps” includes three questions to promote reflection and action. While originally intended for PD participants, they are just as relevant for PD facilitators.

JZ: I’m looking at the third set of questions: “If you need support to put these ideas into practice, who can you talk to? What resources could you draw upon?”

These are great questions to consider. Thank you, Kristin.

Judy Zorfass, Tracy Gray, and PowerUp WHAT WORKS (2015)

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