STEAMing Ahead: Teacher PD while Students Dive into Innovation


 banner with various STEAM tools and the words STEAM Roadshow

We were struggling…

We have been struggling to find ways to build capacity around technology innovation. There was little to no interest in anything that we were holding after school and even our self-paced opportunities had low participation. This dilemma allowed for an opportunity for us to be creative. To think outside the box on how we could move our teachers forward with consistent learning across our buildings.

PD During the School Day

Well, why not provide training DURING the day. We would work with the building principals and schedules to find one hour pockets of time for each PLC to participate in learning. So that’s what we did. Our team consisted of myself, fellow ADE and Integration Specialist Tammy Trzebiatowski, our Tech Director, Administrative Assistant, and one or two of our building techs. We worked with administrators to schedule 1-2 days so that each PLC could spend about an hour of time getting professional learning.

What happens with the students? 

The key ingredient to this master plan is doing something engaging with the learners! That way teachers don’t have to find something for their students to do when they are gone, and teachers aren’t missing their valuable prep time. Like most districts, STEAM has been an area of recent focus, yet buildings are inconsistent with the how/when it is being implemented. So we decided that we would bring the STEAM roadshow to them. The first year, we focused on highly creative activities, like those found in the Everyone Can Create resources. This year, our focus was coding. We invested in some iRobots ROOT robots and created 6 different challenges that could be used with students at each building. We pushed out the iRobot Coding app to student devices. When we arrived at each school, grade-level students would head down to the space with their iPad in hand, ready to take on some highly collaborative and creative coding challenges.


Students using iRobot Root robots to code

What PD were Teachers working through?

This varied between buildings. One of our elementary buildings is working to become an Apple Distinguished School. So they requested that the first year, we help support teachers working through their Apple Teacher Badges during that time. The second year, they moved on to the Apple Teacher Portfolio. In other buildings, we focused on building capacity around accessibility tools that support print access: Speak Selection, Speak Screen, Safari Reader, Listen to Page, Predictive Text, Dictation, and Look Up/Define. We also took this time to introduce some powerful new iPadOS updates: Live Speech, Listen to Page, PDF’s with fillable content, and custom Lock Screens. And lastly, we brought teachers into the Apple Education Community. We wanted them to explore the community and find resources that would help them in what they do each and every day. We found it incredibly helpful for all of their PLC to be working in that space at one time. Conversations around how to implement these ideas organically happened. Some PLC’s walked out with templates ready to rock and roll with their students.


Teachers working through Apple Teacher badges and Apple Teacher Portfolio

Key Takeaways....

What’s more is that we knew that not only were our teachers getting quality and consistent professional learning, but our students were all participating in some fun, engaging and creative challenges! This has been very positively received by students, teachers and principals. What’s great is that this model can continued to be used moving forward, and can be implemented at other districts and schools.

All Comments

Posted on March 29, 2024

This is golden Felecity - and what an amazing team you have! Such a wonderful way to solve PD Time issues (which we all have) and have some super learning activities for students!

Posted on March 30, 2024

What a great strategy to advance innovative teaching & learning for all!

Posted on March 31, 2024

Yes, and to professional development integrated during the school day. 🎉Aligning PD sessions with PLC time and engaging our students in STEAM activities like coding, has supported teacher growth and enriched student learning experiences. This tailored time and approach have turned out to be impactful. Please share other effective ways you have found to engage your teachers in PD. #BetterTogether

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