Teacher Training: When pedagogy and educational technology meet, magic happens

  • Dyslexia News
Amy Dempster

When Carroll leadership transformed its teacher professional development strategy a few years ago, little did they know that a pandemic was going to disrupt the way teachers teach. To best educate children with dyslexia, Carroll developed five core training courses that all faculty are required to complete within their first five years:

  1. Pedagogy: How to Teach
  2. Orton-Gillingham Principles
  3. Whole Child: The Social-Emotional Side of Language Based Learning Differences
  4. Data-Informed Instruction
  5. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

When developed, these courses assumed teachers and students interacting together in a physical classroom/tutorial setting. Then Covid hit and schools went remote in March 2020. As Carroll often does, it moved quickly and built a remote learning program to continue its mission. As the pandemic continued through the summer, leadership released its hybrid learning plan for Fall 2020 (part in-person, part remote).

Academic leadership knew that in order to be successful in this approach it would also need to transform (again!) teacher training and ultimately how our teachers teach, both in-person and remotely. And that’s how Pedagogy and Educational Technology met and magic began to happen.

Led by Carroll’s expert Ed Tech duo -- Colin Meltzer and Jamie Fisher -- a new series of courses were crafted and a training format was established to leverage and share best practices. The School had already invested generously in new technology, such as: Pear Deck, Kami, Seesaw, Soundtrap, WeVideo, Classlink, EdPuzzle, and more. Now, it needed to show teachers how to incorporate them into their classrooms … in a Carroll way.

Jamie Fisher explained, “We had this unique opportunity to do what the Ed Tech team always wanted to do -- to develop a training program that brings educational technology more fully into the classroom. There are so many great tools that enhance the learning experience for students and not just for remote learning times. We hope the tools and strategies teachers are learning this year will continue to be used when on-campus learning fully resumes.”

Teachers choose 2 courses from the following selection to complete over the academic year:

  • Google Foundations
  • Remote Tutoring
  • Interactive Digital Content
  • Pre-recorded Content
  • Implementation Models
  • Assessment, Feedback, and Reflection

The magic? Well, that’s what happens in the classroom. Here are examples from two of our expert teachers.

Christopher Craig Comin
Upper School English & History Teacher

"When Carroll went remote last spring, one of the largest challenges that I encountered was how to monitor students’ reading and make sure that they are actually engaging with their text. I use Kami extensively, in both English and History, to solve this problem as it allows me to view student work, whether remotely or on campus, and see that they are highlighting text, actively annotating, and effectively comprehending text. When connected with Google Classroom, I can comment directly on student work and quickly grade student work without having to track down readings for 20 students. My overall feeling is that student connection with reading has actually increased in my classes since we have gone to the hybrid model and began using Kami for reading and notetaking."

Patrick Pate
Lower School Music Teacher

"In music class, one strain of my curriculum has always been to teach students the basic skills of digital music production. Making beats provides a more culturally relevant music experience for students (they can make music like they hear on the radio). For years, we have used shared iPads to make music on the program GarageBand but this year it is not possible to share materials. This summer, I discovered Soundtrap - a web-based tool similar to Garageband - that students can access anywhere they are by logging into their school Google account. Our amazing technology department helped me set up the website so that all of my students can access it. The results have been amazing. Giving students the ability to work on the songs at school and at home has allowed them to go much deeper into audio production than we typically could in class. Soundtrap in my music class is an example of a silver lining from remote learning, and one that I hope to continue when we get back to business as usual!"

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Teacher Training: When pedagogy and educational technology meet, magic happens
Amy Dempster

When Carroll leadership transformed its teacher professional development strategy a few years ago, little did they know that a pandemic was going to disrupt the way teachers teach. When the school moved to a hybrid learning approach, academic leadership knew that in order to be successful it would need to transform teacher training again.