Guest Post by Sandi Adams , Technology Project Specialist, and Microsoft Innovative Educator
After attending the refresher MIE course in Atlanta focused on 21st Century Learning Design and getting my hands on some of the new tools for teachers, a plan began to form. Approaching my STEM Academy Principals with the idea of certifying the entire school and providing 20 hours of professional development centering on the MIE concept was just the beginning.
Wanting the focus and journey to be completely immersed in OneNote for the duration, I began to build a shared MIE OneNote notebook personalized for the school. Our initial meeting was a large group in the cafeteria(not my favorite training environment) with 78 teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and additional staff members….all attempting to open a shared notebook at one time!! Amazingly, they all were able to log in to their Office 365 accounts and open the notebook with only a few exceptions.
Our first meeting focused on explaining the program, a single learning dimension and an introductory course in OneNote. The energy was good and we were on our way. The first assignment was completing the self-assessment on the Microsoft Educator Network and submitting their results on a survey created in Excel survey. Providing me with this feedback gave me information to augment my future lessons.
Future meetings divided the group by grade level and met in the computer lab making a much more manageable group. Each class included a 21st Century Learning Dimension, lessons plans and rubric study as well as introduction to new tools. Homework and follow up for each class was routine. Occasionally trainings took place on a grade level basis during the teachers planning periods for more specific content.
We delved into Office 365, sharing documents, creating surveys and exploring sites, explored OneNote in depth and used OneNote Notebook Creator, researched using Bing in the Classroom (which has since replaced our district default search), held Mystery Skype sessions and connected with classrooms through Skype for Teachers.
Office Mix was a party favorite and each staff member contributed a Mix to our Excel Survey list. Different ways to collect information from my teachers included Poll Everywhere, Todays Meet, Padlet and Lenoit. Of course this certification would not be complete without introducing them to the magic of SWAY! Free tools were a hit including, AutoCollage, Songsmith and the cast of thousands.
With our motto of "Go Big or Go Home," the 20 hours of blended learning culminated with an overview of the Microsoft Educator Network site and future professional development opportunities. I truly wanted to validate this experience for everyone who participated in this certification to honor the efforts made. Special guest including Cara Atkinson,
Education Solution Professional and Lindsey Craft, Strategic Accounts Manager- Education from Microsoft, our Supervisor of Instructional Training, Debbie Childress and District Facilitator, Esther Brenneman. Additionally a special message from our Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Accountability, Bobby Blount was created in Office Mix and shared.
Each participant received a certificate, a framed placard for outside their door and a t-shirt stating "I'm certified!" We shared a beautiful MIE Congratulations cake and loads of photos to celebrate the achievement. I could not have been more proud and truly feel this was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career in education. I think some of the comments from the final survey say it best.
"The knowledge gained through this course sets me up as an educator with the tools needed to stay relevant in an ever changing world. This allowed me to learn many of the new platforms available to help me plan, create, and teach with in my classroom. Using One Note was an ahhh ha moment for me, I thought of the many ways I can use One Note in ways that I use EverNote right now. OneNote is a great place for me to organize my thoughts, share them, and best of all be able to go back and reference them as often as needed. I love that I can click on links through OneNote to get to resources I might want to use in my lessons."
"As a parapro I am not responsible for the overall teaching. This has opened my eyes to the many things that can be done in the classroom. It gives me a better understanding of the different concepts that my teachers use." – Kristi
"I feel I have been given some great ways to implement technology in the classroom and some neat ways to share learning in the classroom with parents." – Jennifer
"I think that this course helps educators achieve instructional goals in innovative, engaging ways by incorporating technology in a manner that enriches the learning of all students. It helps educators analyze good lessons and identify ways to make them even better." – Donna