The Parish Episcopal School

Team Members: Susana Acosta-Cavert, Stuart Chepey, Lucy Henard, Jim Kondysar, Becky Maher, Gretchen Peterson
Community: Dublin-Dallas Year 1, 2010-2011

Administrative expectation for Parish Episcopal School teachers to further implement its 21st century teaching and learning initiative is increasing exponentially. One aspect of this initiative is for teachers to regularly incorporate collaborative project-based learning in their classrooms. Many teachers find this to be challenging for the simple reason that they lack readily-accessible and effective tools to use for collaborative group projects. Our objective is to provide specific tools and information that increase teachers’ use of, and comfort with, collaborative projects in their classes. The focus of our project is the middle school division.

Although middle school faculty members are increasingly encouraged and expected to incorporate collaborative group projects into all aspects of their teaching, no specific professional development has been provided on this topic. While it may be assumed that teachers are comfortable with this pedagogy, a survey we offered to faculty indicates that they are hungry for more specific strategies and tools to use in order to facilitate the incorporation of collaboration in their classrooms.
Our objective is to provide relevant tools and information to the middle school faculty by means of a readily accessible wiki. In order to assess the effectiveness of our project, namely the tools we provide and the medium and method by which we make them accessible, we will review faculty comments on the wiki and a offer a follow-up survey in the 2011-2012 academic year.
We will implement our project during faculty professional development in August 2011. We will introduce the project wiki to faculty during a thirty-minute PD session and will encourage them to try some/all of the tools and to offer feedback.
Feedback from the faculty has surpassed expectation already at this juncture. Our initial survey recorded nealry 100% faculty participation; comments added to the survey indicated genuine enthusiasm about the project. We will introduce the finished project and corrosponding wiki formally to the faculty during teacher professional development in August 2011 (aforementioned). Our team will assess its effectiveness by reviewing comments made by faculty on the wiki and the results of a follow-up survey we will offer in the middle of the 2011-2012 academic year. We will publish those results here at that time.
For all related documentation and materials, see our action project wiki. The faculty version of the wiki (the one faculty will use) can be found here.

 

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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.
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