Reaching out to teachers
To support the first element of their plan, Petersen and his team made a concerted effort to communicate with and educate teachers through all-staff and 1:1 meetings. Before doing this though, they needed to get a good understanding of competency, confidence, and barriers for teachers to engage with technology.
To get this understanding, a survey was conducted across teaching and leadership staff to assess their knowledge of and confidence with technology. The results included a broad spectrum of responses, which informed the professional development (PD) plan, allowing them to identify ‘early adopters’ as well as those who would work better with more personalised support.
The early adopters were resourced with external professional development, and five of these teachers became Google Certified Educators, which helped open the door to fundamental training resources for later adopters and practical lesson ideas for more advanced users. Positioning these early adopters as technology advocates enabled a peer-to-peer education program, where teachers would share learnings in group PD sessions as well as in 1:1 meetings.
Re-engineering staff meetings to build capability and capacity of staff members by having them engage with Google Workspace and Chromebooks regularly was also a key component to the program. Teachers were required to bring along their Chromebooks to each meeting and collaborate on a Google Doc for meeting contributions, minutes, and reflections on pedagogical approaches. Gradually, they saw all levels of Bombay staff increase their confidence and competence working with Chromebooks and all of the Google Workspace applications.
“It’s a journey together. It’s scary, but it’s exciting at the same time, because that’s where new learning comes from, when you move out of your comfort zone,” Petersen concludes.