This is a guest post from Bradley Smrstick, 20 year veteran Physics teacher, now District Resource Teacher (Team Lead) for Technology Training, and Joshua Sawyer, formerly a lead STEM teacher and Technology Education Teacher for an Aerospace and Aeronautics program, now also a District Resource Teacher with Hillsborough Co. were among the first Microsoft Innovative Educators trained for their district at a Microsoft sponsored event.
Build it and they will come! Hillsborough County Public Schools Professional Learning Team in Tampa, Florida recognized their teachers’ desire to learn relevant 21st Century skills for lesson design infused with Microsoft tools and technology skills. Two key events have grown from this need allowing Hillsborough County (8th largest school district in the US) to scale the training to meet their large number of teachers. What Hillsborough has designed can be duplicated by other districts bringing Microsoft tools and classroom best practices to schools everywhere.
The Microsoft Summer Institute is a five-day event providing professional educators with the opportunity to gain MIE certificates while earning thirty professional development hours. Each morning begins with the 21st Century Learning Design framework, as the core session. Teachers work through one learning dimension rubric per day using sample learning activities. Then, they apply “the rubric of the day” to their own lesson plan. Each teacher then attends an elective course, allowing them to customize their experience while being exposed to a wide variety of free digital tools from Microsoft. The slate of seventy elective courses provides educators with multiple opportunities to interact with their colleagues and facilitators while developing mastery of selected digital tools. Teachers collaborate with their colleagues during built-in “work sessions” and ultimately share their experiences in a culminating “share” session. This is the second year the Microsoft Summer Institute has been offered with another 125 teachers becoming Microsoft Innovative Educators.
Building on this success, Hillsborough County now delivers a “Back to School with Microsoft” Summer Showcase. This one-day event, held on a Saturday gives teachers the opportunity to demonstrate their newly acquired skills using Microsoft tools to their colleagues in a professional setting. The training consists of fifteen concurrent 90-minute sessions delivered four times during the day. Over 550 teachers attended this training, including teachers two other districts.
“Professional Development continues to benefit from our ongoing partnership with the Microsoft Innovative Educator program. The skills acquired by the Technology Training Team have led to the implementation of a variety of training opportunities that are highly focused on 21st Century Learning Skills.” John C. Ellison, Supervisor, Technology Training Professional Development Hillsborough County Public School.
Hillsborough County Public Schools built it and they came. How many other schools and districts could scale their professional learning to bring Microsoft tools and skills to their educators?
Hillsborough County Professional Learning Team and MIE Trainers include John Ellison, Supervisor and nine very talented technology trainers all working together to achieve this success.