Guest Post: Modern Classroom and the Importance of Professional Learning/Development


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ScottThere is no denying that classrooms everywhere are changing based on the advancements of technology in the world, our greater understanding of the how the brain works, and the need for equipping today’s Students with the vital 21st Century Skills that will help them become the creators of tomorrow. For Educators and School Leaders to build schools and classrooms where the above are effectively addressed, they must lead effective training sessions where consistent, clearly-outlined training professional learning goals are addressed and where technology is a tool to guide the entire process.   

Effective training is an integral part of professional learning for education audiences to establish a consistent, clear message across your institutions. With proper professional learning, educators are more likely to change their education practice and offer modern learning experiences to their learners. In addition, that professional learning is more likely to be effective when it promotes collaboration with peers, classroom observation and teacher feedback on the job, fostering a greater overall sense of community. As Professional Learning Specialists at NCCE, we believe in applying all of these ideas in every opportunity we receive, empowering our audiences with the information, tools and techniques they need to make positive changes for their Teachers and Students.  

One such opportunity came about this past November, when NCCE partnered with Microsoft and their Global Training Partner Program, to build the Modern Classroom module for all current and incoming GTP members to add value to the partners work with and training of their customers.  As the cornerstone of a 5-part series, the hourlong Modern Classroom module will help partners clearly communicate the many benefits of using well designed professional development, along with the amazing set of Office365 & Microsoft Tools as the vehicle for creating the ultimate student-centered learning experience. In addition to the Modern Classroom module, GTPs will also have access to courses on the Education Transformation Framework (ETF), Hacking Stem, Future Ready Skills, and Minecraft and it is Microsoft’s hope these modules will equip all partners with real-world examples and the latest techniques & information about how educators everywhere can effectively transform their classrooms, schools, districts and more.  

As soon as I heard about this partnership, and that NCCE was looking to task one of our trainers with leading the project, I knew I wanted to be involved. I am so passionate about empowering Educators all over the world to rethink how and why they do, what they do in their classrooms, so I threw my name in the mix. A few weeks later, Heidi Rodgers and Shannon Davenport sent me the amazing news that I was selected to represent our unbelievably talented corps of NCCE trainers on this endeavor. Saying I was thrilled at the opportunity is an understatement. For the first 24 hours my mind ran all over the place from brainstorming ideas to share, to at times being terrified out of my mind at the sheer scope and reach of what I had just signed on to do. Never the less, my competitive side kicked in and set out to put together a resource that would help GTPs lead their customers through these challenging transitions. 

After our initial call with Olga Svyrydenko, the Business Strategy Lead for the Global Training Partner Program at Microsoft and our main point of contact on the Modern Classroom module, I couldn’t wait to get to work on the script, especially since we had just 4 weeks to pull it all together before our mid-December filming date. I immediately sat down to get all of my ideas on paper (and by that of course I mean organizing them all in OneNote) to establish a starting place and a general road map. As part of this road map we:  

  • Made sure to define the Modern Classroom and how Educators have a variety of research-based methods at their disposal to improve Student outcomes, emphasized the importance to teaching 21st Century Skills to best prepare Students for the future (specifically the four main C’s: Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration & Creativity) 
  • Designed a variety of demos to shine a bright light on the powerful tools Microsoft has to offer 
  • Emphasized the need for focused Professional Learning/Development to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page 

NCCE with Scott

At this point, I should probably insert a genuine thanks to both Shannon and Maria Turner, who at several key points of the project asked all the right questions and provided amazing feedback and ideas about  where we were heading with the Modern Classroom module. There’s no chance we would have been successful without their help and I couldn’t be more grateful for their time and effort, on this project and everything else all the Professional Learning Specialists work on at NCCE. 

In response to their thoughtful assistance, I worked through countless revisions, additions, reorganization and the occasional glare in the mirror to question my own sanity for taking on the project and we submitted our final draft to Olga and her team, turning our attention to preparing our journey to the Pacific Northwest for a day I will never forget. 

The experience of filming a video with Microsoft is difficult to quantify, mostly because much of it feels completely surreal the entire time you are there. First and foremost, the entire project from beginning to end is nothing but first class. We walked in to the beautiful studios in Building 127 on campus to a table of yogurt parfaits, fruit, juice & coffee, and a variety of other snacks. To be fair, I was so nervous that I didn’t want to eat anything before filming and once the blur of the next few hours took hold, I look back and realize I didn’t take full advantage of those little perks. The studios are, as you can imagine, state of the art and waiting for us there was a team of 5 of the nicest, most collaborative people I’ve ever worked with. While the Microsoft Team finished up the last few tasks to get the studio ready, I got the full treatment and prep as the make-up artist prepared me for the bright lights. I am still hoping the pictures Heidi and Shannon took during my “enhancement time” never see the light of day, but there’s no telling how that will play out.  

Being on campus at Microsoft is intimidating enough but to sit behind a desk with the bright lights shining down on you as the cameras roll, tests your nerves and takes your stress level to an all-time high. But with the amazing team behind me, we did a few quick run-throughs of the script to settle things down and we were off and running from there.   

The next 2 hours or so ran smoothly and quite honestly the whole thing went by way too quickly. After each take, I was pleased to hear from the control room that Olga, Heidi, Shannon and the entire Microsoft support team were happy with how things were looking and sounding on camera. Occasionally, Shannon would sneak in between takes to add a key phrase or catchy word to enhance the connection to our script, and we would roll back through another take to get it right. After recording our seven demo scenarios where we featured the impact OneNote, Teams, Forms and more can make in the classroom, we wrapped filming to the delight of the control room and to my mix of relief & disbelief. The entire adventure from beginning to end was an incredible experience and, in that moment, it slowly began to set it what a cool project we had just completed.   

Our Modern Classroom module, and the other four pieces mentioned above, will be released sometime in late February or early March. I am so proud of the work we put in to make this an incredible resource for GTPs everywhere, and I look forward to hearing all the great stories of the work their education customers will do having received top notch professional development.   

But now, my attention turns to conference season and a busy start to 2020. I’ve just returned from the MIEE & Showcase School Leader Underground Summit, where I was back on campus at Microsoft with 200 of my fellow passionate educators from around the United States, including 20 or so of the wonderful folks from NCCE. In TCEA, I will be heading to Austin, TX to present three sessions, on how I’m incorporating brain research into my teaching & professional development, while also inspiring Teachers to “Find the Why” behind their teaching practices. One session, I will also be co-presenting with my fellow NCCE Rockstars Jenna Dawson and Jason Mocherman.  

The highlight of conference season comes in early March where I will be a Featured Speaker at our own NCCE Conference in Seattle, along with a host of other incredible individuals. I am honored to represent our NCCE Professional Learning Specialists and I am looking forward to connecting with so many great Educators who will be attending my sessions and walking the halls of the Washington State Convention Center.   

Follow me on Twitter (@BrickerCoaching) for the latest information on all things Microsoft Education, NCCE and so much more! 


Scott’s Sessions at NCCE 2020

Scott Bricker

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday, March 4, 11:30 am–12:20 pm
30 in 50: Microsoft EdTech Hacks for the Classroom
Presenters: Scott Bricker, Jenna Dawson
Location: TCC Skagit 4

Wednesday, March 4, 1:00 pm–1:50 pm
Find the WHY Behind Your Teaching
Presenters: Scott Bricker
Location: TCC Tahoma 2

Thursday

Thursday, March 5, 8:00 am–8:50 am
Let Your Students Lead the Team
Presenters: Scott Bricker, Sammer Darwazeh
Location: TCC Tahoma 2

Thursday, March 5, 10:30 am–11:20 am
The Student Perspective on Ed Tech
Presenters: Scott Bricker
Location: TCC Tahoma 1

Friday

Friday, March 6, 8:00 am–8:50 am
Student Engagement Tools & Insights to Activate the Classroom
Presenters: Scott Bricker, Jenna Dawson
Location: TCC Tahoma 1

Friday, March 6, 10:30 am–11:20 am
Drive efficient school leadership coordination w MS Teams and Notebook
Presenters: Scott Bricker
Location: TCC Yakima 1

Friday, March 6, 1:15 pm–3:05 pm
Assessment Doesn’t Always Have to Mean Test!
Presenters: Scott Bricker, Jenna Dawson
Location: Exhibit Hall Table 4

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