Superheroes Amongst Us Personalized Learning for Teachers

The 2016-17 school year brought a new challenge to my life. After having been a classroom teacher for 15 years, I had the opportunity to leave my cozy little classroom filled to the brim with 8th graders 6 periods a day to become my district's Technology Integration Specialist. This was a career goal that appeared at least two years ahead of schedule. At the time I was working to complete a master's degree in Learning Design and Leadership with a focus on Instructional Technology from the University of Illinois. I felt that this degree would help me towards this end goal, teach me how to meet the needs of teachers and students with regards to technology in the classroom, which it did!

My cozy little classroom full of 8th graders building earthquake 'proof' buildings!

One semester in and I love my job!!! Now instead of 190 eighth graders, I have 386 teachers in grades Kindergarten through 12! Everyday is a new adventure, helping third grade teachers teach their students how to login into a Chromebook, high school teachers how to use Google Classroom, kindergarten teachers how to save student pictures on their iPads to their Google Drives. As I move from one building to another, I have to keep in mind that each building has a different climate, a different clientele, but the same end goal -- to make our students the best there are!

It still amazes me how similar my teachers are to my former students (not in a bad way). In my short time doing this, I've learned a few things:

Teachers learning about Storybird during our Summer Student Engagement Conference!
  • Teachers love chocolate
  • Some learn better one on one
  • Others learn better in small groups
  • Teachers enjoy hands on learning that pertains to THEM!!!
  • They enjoy watching me teach and interact with their students!

As I work with teachers of varying levels of experience and expertise, I'm finding more and more that they all truly want the same thing: How can I use this NOW with MY students. Keeping that in mind, allows me to personalize the learning of each of my teachers, providing examples and looking for materials they can use in their classrooms.

The Personalized Learning Summit in San Francisco, CA, in 2017, I believe, will grant me the opportunity to see how other districts across the nation are teaching their teachers how to utilize 1:1 technology in a more personalized way, integrate STEM in ways that engage students and teachers, and incorporate College and Career Readiness at all levels of instruction. I attended IETC (Illinois Education and Technology Conference) 2016 and attended several sessions about staff professional development where I got several really good ideas. Yet I'm still looking for ways to best meet the needs of all of my teachers, from the advanced teachers who are excelling with Chromebooks, to those that still struggle with checking their emails and posting attendance each day. My hope is that the PL Summit will provide the needed piece that I'm missing to turn all my teachers into Superheroes!

2017 Personalized Learning Summit Logo
Created By
Melissa Fierro
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