For the past several years, I have been honored to present at the August PD (Professional Development) day for our substitute (“sub”) teachers. I absolutely love leading a session because I believe being a sub is among the hardest and least appreciated work within any school district.
This year I was asked to focus my session on ways teachers are using technology in the classroom and how subs can improve their classroom management when lesson plans call for students to be using their Chromebooks. I co-led the session with Mia Gittlen, TSA for Instructional Technology (and co-author of these blog posts) and we used Pear Deck as the basis for our presentation.
If you aren’t familiar with Pear Deck, it’s an interactive software which allows participants to respond to questions posed during a presentation and their collective thinking is displayed.
After some fun warm up questions about their summers, we asked about their level of confidence with technology. Teachers dragged their red dot to represent their comfort level with technology.
Among both groups, when asked how often classroom teachers provide sub plans that include the use of technology, the vast majority said “sometimes” and very few said “never”. I was surprised to see how frequently classroom teachers leave sub plans which include students using their Chromebooks. This means that many classroom teachers have strong enough systems in place for students to use Chromebooks even when they are out.
Here are responses showing how technology is being used in lessons given on sub days, and I love to see “research” as a response:
However ultimately, the biggest crowd pleaser was teaching tools one can use for classroom management. The substitute teachers loved learning about the button that allows them to see all open windows on a students’ Chromebook. Students occasionally use a keystroke to make their screen appear sideways and use it as an excuse for not being able to do work or to have to share a Chromebook with a friend. Knowing how to undo this felt really powerful for the subs, especially those who were initially fearful of using technology when subbing. I enjoyed the feeling in the room; many who were VERY new to technology giggled with one another as they tried out new tools and tricks.
And having a district subscription to Pear Deck, available also to our long term substitute teachers, was super exciting for those who were already comfortable using technology with kids. Pear Deck was completely new to them all and they definitely learned how they could use it in the lessons and are asking for more. Such a successful session!