Last Friday we took part in Washington STEM’s annual STEM-PD (Professional Development) Conference. Washington STEM’s STEM-PD Team has been working for the past three years to pioneer the use of technology that provides teachers with professional development experiences that improve instruction.
Because of the STEM-PD Team’s work, hundreds of teachers have been able to work with their colleagues to use video technology to see themselves teaching and engage with their video to self reflect and give themselves and each other thoughtful feedback. Washington STEM engages with this work because teaching quality is a lead indicator of how well a student does in school. Since Washington state has rolled out new math and science standards, this work has become even more important. In fact, there’s currently a bill in the Legislature about to go to a floor vote that supports high quality professional development standards.
Fifty teachers traveled from across the state to further their knowledge in working with video to support professional development. Participants engaged in practical, hands-on video based experiences that can be modified for use back in their schools. Partners from IRIS Connect USA, Southwest Washington STEM Network, and Highline Public Schools were on hand to offer support and training.
We asked a few participants why they chose to take part in the day and how they felt about professional development and working with video to engage professional development. Here’s what they said.
Susan Connolly from Central Washington University and Kristine Lindeblad from Washington State University are jointly working on the RAPID project. The RAPID project uses video and IRIS Connect technology to enable effective PD for rural teachers, who are especially challenged in receiving high-quality PD because of the locations of their schools. Susan and Kristine are coaches who, without IRIS Connect, have to travel for hours to observe and provide feedback to the teachers with whom they work.
Susan: “Good professional development is focused with plenty of opportunity for interaction. It’s beneficial if you attend as part of the team you work with so you’re all on the same page. This workshop exceeds my expectations because we are learning things I can use right now in my my work with video technology.”
Kristine: “Good professional development moves the work forward. It is practical and immediately applicable.” Kristine went on to explain that video technology helps her maintain connections with teachers from all across her region, moving professional development forward in a way previously impossible.
West Hills STEM Academy in Bremerton brought a team of four to learn more about how to engage with the Iris Connect tools in the classroom. West Hills STEM has a deep commitment to professional development and finds the IRIS Connect technology to be especially helpful for their coaching teams. We asked first year teacher Kajsa Nelson about her experience. Kajsa is new to the IRIS Connect technology team and voiced excitement about the possibilities of the technology.
Why did you come to this conference?
Kajsa:”I’m looking to collaborate with my coworkers and develop new insights about my work. I’m excited to learn new strategies to take back to my school.”
We also spoke with IRIS Connect USA Education Program Manager Jill Williams about her work. She states “I’m here to talk with IRIS Connect users about how they can utilize the platform to expand features and do what they’re already doing better. In these conferences there are varying levels of experience, and it’s great to see how educators use IRIS Connect. Today I learned many educators are excited to edit their videos so they can pull out relevant teaching moments for others to review quickly and easily.”
To find out more about our professional development efforts visit our website.