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Building Educators Capacity - Back to School Series
Building Educators' Capacity
I am fortunate to be in a position that allows me to visit and observe numerous schools, teachers, and learners in my role. I thoroughly enjoy acquiring new knowledge and sharing it with others, as well as building capacity in individuals to create enjoyable and engaging learning experiences.
In every school I visit or collaborate with, one of the most common challenges is developing the capacity to learn and implement technology in the classroom. Even the 'best' schools face difficulties with this, regardless of where they are on their journey. My session for Back to School 2024 was centered around how Apple Resources, coupled with creative ideas, can lead to improved productivity and capacity in schools.
The initial step always involves collecting data to ensure that all learners (teachers) possess a basic set of skills for effective teaching and learning. This is where the Apple Teacher Learning Centre (ATLC) comes in—a one-stop-shop for self-paced learning for Mac and iPad. Both platforms have six short learning modules that cover all aspects of getting started with their respective devices. I enjoy revisiting this section as it reminds me of some cool applications of apps that I often don’t use.
Tips for getting started with Apple Teacher:
- Run small workshop sessions where teachers can co-learn and collaborate while achieving one badge at a time.
- Incentivise self-learning. I’ve seen schools offer Apple Pencils for school use to all teachers who complete all six badges.
- Celebrate success; have an honour wall displaying all certificates as a great way to inspire and celebrate teacher learning.
The ATLC also offers great resources for teachers in the process of achieving their Apple Teacher Badges, including "Teachers in Action," which provides practical and real stories of technology use in schools. Additionally, there is an inspiration section with curated content from Apple, such as this awesome resource on Challenge Based Learning that was just released this week.
Expanding Ideas and Collaboration
Another area where schools find challenges is keeping the learning momentum going beyond Apple Teacher and engaging teachers in unique applications. I always turn to the Apple Education Community—a new space for sharing, connecting, and collaborating with educators across the globe. This ever-growing platform hosts content, success stories, and resources from educators who love to share. I regularly check the Education Community for new posts and even follow some of my favourite profiles to see new content they share.
Tips for going further with Apple Education Community:
- Share newfound content through a staff weekly newsletter.
- Showcase a new resource at the beginning of a staff meeting.
- Encourage teachers to find inspiration during planning time.
- Support teachers in sharing some of their own content on AEC.
Building YOUR Capacity!
All too often, the professional learning of technology falls to one or a small few. So, how do you stay on top of all elements and effectively support your learners in your community? It is important that you have the skillset and current capacity to support and coach as effectively as possible, given that many people in these roles, whom I work with, have very little time. Apple Learning Coach is a new program offered by Apple to support people just like you! It is fully online with some synchronous sessions and asynchronous learning modules that cover all aspects of being an effective coach, as well as challenging you to think differently about some of the more well-known apps in the Apple ecosystem. The Apple Learning Coach is approximately 43.5 hours of professional learning, and successful applicants must be in a role that allows them to fulfil their coaching requirements for the course.
The next intake of Apple Learning Coach is coming soon, so you can head across to Apple Learning Coach to register for updates for your region.
Need more support?
The day-to-day life of a teacher is becoming increasingly demanding, and the time it takes to learn, test, and share with colleagues generally takes a back seat. This is the same when it comes to making significant changes to your digital technology program or device program, and you are not sure where to start or just need a fresh voice with new ideas. This is where the Apple Professional Learning Specialists (APLS) come in! We are a network of over 35 former classroom educators who are experts in their field of technology and learning. APLS not only have practical applications of coaching and technology in the classroom but can also support with the top-level leadership of your programs from baselining data through an Apple-created survey called the Learning Technologies Survey (LTS), see image sample below. All Specialists have access to this free resource, which schools can use to gather important baselining data about all things teacher perception, attitude to professional learning, and overall comfortability when using technology. All you need to do is reach out to one of the APL Specialists to start this conversation and begin improving your current state.
Lastly, good luck! This journey is an important one but is not always easy. I hope these resources and tips can help you in that journey in some way. As always, if there is anything I can help with or you’d like to chat, please reach out!
Here's my profile which has all my published content and details to get in touch https://education.apple.com/profile/mrcoby
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