Sustainable Professional Development – Apple Leadership Academy

Late last week I attended the Singapore edition of the Apple Leadership Academy. It was a great chance to network again with colleagues from different international schools and to get a feel for where they are all heading in the future. With a turnout of over 100 delegates, from 25 schools in five countries Apple’s prospects in Asia look healthy.

Dr Randy Yerrick – State University of  New York, Buffalo. Demonstrating a science lesson.

Everyone takes something different from the these types of workshops. My interest at the moment is structuring a professional development environment that allows teachers to grow and transform their teaching practice. I therefore enjoyed Amanda DeCardy’s session of how to create a model of Sustainable Professional Development. She was instrumental in setting up the 1:1 programme at the Shanghai American School. This is excellent overview of the initial roll-out in August 2009  1 to 1 starting off with momentum

  • A dual focus on technology skills and pedagogy skills. See below for my summary
  • A big focus on initial staff training and skills immersion. They ran staff training sessions where staff spent 2 days out of classes “Out in Shanghai Days
  • Creating a culture of sharing and collaboration within the school  “Date Night with your mac” with wine and food included on a Friday afternoon.
From Amanda DiCardy

Amanda discussed the above model, which I guess is something that they have created as SAS to help teachers understand the why and how of technology integration. The how aspects of “Technology Teacher Training” are perhaps the first things most schools and teachers dive into. But the why aspects of “Technology Professional Development” are equally, and even more important than teachers becoming proficient in the technical skills. Yes they go hand in hand, but at the end of the day, technology is just a range of tools to help scaffold learning or to improve reading and writing skills. It is good to see lots of schools and workshops focusing on this distinction and Amanda explained this far more eloquently than me.

She also shared some of her ideas about being a technology integrator. Next August, I am moving into a full-time integration role and I took lots of her advice to heart. Lessons about not emailing staff and running to see them quickly are so pertinent. Across the two campus’ of SAS in Shanghai they have about six full-time integrators who split the workload of working with Elementary, Middle and High School teachers.

If you are interested in this school and working in a progressive 1:1 environment it looks like there are lots of jobs available.

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