Appy Hour has changed for the better

I have been doing a lot of reading in my last class about what is going on nationally and globally in Educational Technology. I have come up with a few additions to my original Appy Hour idea and have put them in this document in red, so they would stand out. The changes or additions I have made are directly related to the amount of reading that I have been doing about Professional Development in general, all around the world.

Many things have been working with our Appy Hour idea.  I feel like the laid back atmosphere and the built in time to interact with the apps has been a positive for us.  We have had 5-7 teachers show up for each meeting, with about 4 of them being the same.  We have been very flexible about using different days of the week to address everyone’s schedules.  I have gotten many comments from people who are reading our powerpoints that we put out after the fact.  I would like to see us expand Appy Hour into other schools in the district, and my co-teacher and I plan to present at our District Technology Conference about Appy Hour and we will hopefully create some cohorts at other campuses.

We’ve had some issues with the technology not always working, so that is no surprise.  We have also had a few issues with getting teacher buy in.  We feel like showing them how we use it in our classroom is the best way to address the problem of teachers not always seeing the possibilities.

Again, the following is my original Appy Hour plan and 4DX plan.  Changes or additions are in red for ease of comparison.


The goal of “Appy Hour” is to get the attendees to share and use apps and programs in their classroom. To address this goal, we must first look at one reason why teachers are resistant to using technology in their classrooms. Carey says “the reality is that modern education is now a high-stakes, test driven environment. State tests and AP exams determine job security, funding, and professional perception. Experimenting with new tools and pedagogy requires not only a learning curve but some risk-taking” (2013).

There are two vital behaviors that I feel need to be addressed to move us towards our goal. The first is having the teachers demonstrate one app or tool with two other members of the faculty. Those who do share with two members will get two extra tickets into the drawing for a free ipad party for their class, and 30 minutes of uninterrupted free time for the teacher. The way that we will be able to measure the results is the person who is being shared with has to email me and tell me who shared with them and what they got out of it. We have found that sharing information with others is beneficial to both the person sharing and to the person who is being shared with. Hearing from someone who is in the classroom and teaching just like they are is a great tool to get teachers to buy in to what we are suggesting (Carey 2013). By tying the sharing to the incentives, I feel that it will encourage teachers to share with others.

The second vital behavior to be addressed is the teachers will use one app or tool by the next “Appy Hour” meeting, which is usually about 30 days later, with a group of children. The way that we will measure the results of this behavior is by requiring them to share a picture of or the actual lesson that they used. Again, by tying this to the incentive of a “Jeans Pass” from the administration, I feel many more teachers will go back and try a program. I’ve noticed when our administration has offered a “jeans pass” to get the faculty to sign up for a job that might otherwise be undesirable, there has been an overwhelming number of people who volunteered. Wearing jeans on any day but Friday in our district is considered the best reward ever.   There is really nothing that teachers in our building will not do for a jeans pass.

 

Carey, J. (2013, March 27). How to Get Hesitant Teachers to Use Technology. Retrieved January 31, 2016, from http://plpnetwork.com/2013/03/27/hesitant-teachers-technology/

 

Six Sources of Influence

  Motivation Ability
Personal By making the Appy Hour meetings optional, we are targeting the people who are more motivated to change first. We would like to see one administrator at each meeting. There is time built in to Appy Hour for deliberate practice and sharing of what the teachers already use inside and outside of the classroom.
Social There is a deliberate frequent contact with social leaders to have them encourage others to attend an Appy Hour. . Set up a peer support system provided by myself and our technology teacher.

Set up a peer mentoring program for them to support each other.

Structural Principal provides jeans passes for teachers who use an app with children.

I provide tickets to a drawing for free time for those who come and for those who demonstrate an app or program to colleagues.

My co-presenter and I have t-shirts with the “why” of Appy Hour that we will wear to meetings.

We will give out clipboards with our Appy Hour logo on them. We will institute a badge system for completing courses on certain apps.

The six sources of influence will be very important to the success or failure of “Appy Hour”. When looking at the influencer worksheet, the answers to the questions were very interesting to me when considering my six sources.

First, in terms of personal motivation, teachers always seem to have the student’s best interests at heart. The motivation comes from being able to extend ourselves past all of the district mandates and testing requirements to do what is right for children. By making “Appy Hour” optional, we are first addressing those people who are in the place of being able to look past all the extra work and find ways to replace some of the work with these apps and programs. The people who choose to attend an “optional” meeting usually already have somewhat of an interest in what is being said. We would like to see the addition of one or the other of our administration team at each meeting. “Research shows that educators need to attend PD together and reflect collectively on what they are learning (Powerful Learning Practice, 2015). As with any school change effort, the role of the school administrator throughout implementation is necessary. When “administrators can help ensure that the use of technology is prioritized…the teachers feel comfortable in trying new things.”(Billing et al., 2005; Staples et al., 2005; Zoofrassm 2001)

Personal ability is a big hurdle when it comes to the “Appy Hour” concept. Again, the personal motivation strategy lends itself to this when it makes the meeting optional. Also, by having built in time to practice what we have heard about and to share with others, we are addressing ability levels in a safe, non-threatening environment.

Social motivation is probably one of the hardest influences for us in regards to “Appy Hour”. Most of the social leaders in my school, because there is a population of teachers who are very near retirement, are some of the people who are content with things staying the same. By making frequent contact with as many social leaders as I can and asking them to encourage teammates to attend an “Appy Hour”, we are addressing this the best that we can.

Social ability is a bit more easily addressed at Moore. We have offered a great deal of peer support for anyone who wants to try a new app or program. Built in to our daily schedules is a computer time where our technology teacher will come out and do anything that we want with our classes. By encouraging teachers to have her participate with them in trying these new things, it provides support for them. We would also like to look at taking some of our current attendees and making them into mentors for some of our other teachers. In a Jordan study, the demand for on time, relevant professional development is a high priority. But if given the tools and no support, it only impacts “5-10% of participant’ practice (TOJET, 2011). It should be pointed out that “mentoring as one of the most important elements in successful TPD, or in-service trainings (Hooker, n.d.) Mentoring can help “reduce the anxiety and sense of isolation that can keep teachers from trying new approaches in their classrooms (Hooker, n.d.)  

Our structural motivations are what seem like extrinsic motivators, but are a necessary part of getting the teachers out to the meetings. Spending an hour after school doing anything is a great feat in our building, as we are all being pulled in 1000 different directions by our families, training, and so forth. By offering “Jeans Passes” to those who actually try an app or program with children, they are motivated by the idea of comfort or convenience on a day when they need it most. By offering tickets for a drawing for an Ipad party and free time for the teacher both for attending and demonstrating an app to two others, teachers will be excited to attend.

Finally, when addressing structural ability, we are going for a more subtle approach. My co-presenter and I have t-shirts that have our “why” statement on the front. This subtle reminder of why we are motivated to help children will remind the staff of why they decided to become teachers and remind them of what their abilities are as a classroom leader. We will also be handing out clipboards with Appy Hour to remind them after they leave the meeting of what they are capable of doing. We would also like to add the idea of badges and gamification, to increase participation and also for recognition purposes. I was reading about what is going on in Denton, Texas and how “the Instructional Technology Team in Denton ISD, (Dwight GoodwinRoss GarisonLeslie Taylor and the other amazing team members), created a Google Site of self-directed PD for teachers. Through this program, teachers are rewarded for stepping outside their comfort zones with fun badges to display outside their classroom door” (Bell, 2015). We would love to try to create something similar for our Appy Hour that addresses the apps that we discussed and seeing if the teachers go back and use them in their classrooms. My co teacher and I plan on doing a lot of research this summer to see if we can come up for something similar for Moore Elementary teachers.

References

Abuhmaid, A. (n.d.). ICT Training Courses for Teacher Professional Development in Jordan. Retrieved May 1, 2016, from http://www.tojet.net/articles/v10i4/10420.pdfBell, K. (2015, September 01).

Take PD to the Next Level with Badges – Gamify Professional Learning. Retrieved May 15, 2016, from http://www.shakeuplearning.com/blog/take-pd-to-the-next-level-with-badges/

Hooker, M. (n.d.). Models and Best Practices in Teacher Professional Development. Retrieved May 1, 2016, from https://www.infodev.org/infodev-files/resource/InfodevDocuments_294.pdf

Technology Implementation in Schools: Key Factors to Consider. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2016, from http://www.cited.org/index.aspx?page_id=187

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Posted in EDLD 5314 - Digital Learning in a Global Context

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