Dominic Killalea, Deputy Principal at Wellington High School, discusses the importance of making time for professional learning. He says that they implemented a number of strategies to support teachers to learn more about technologies, and how they could be used more effectively in the classroom. Dominic says, "If you give teachers time to do stuff, they will do amazing things".
We designed the PD programme based on need and what we thought. We refined that as we went along. I’d say that journey towards BYOD, we delivered a really good ICT PD programme that I think brought about massive change in practice in the school. We were able to use the money from that project to free up teachers so we we took them off a class and so we had ICT lead teachers in the school and we expected them to deliver PD every week. We also expected them to undertake a particular project over a year. We surveyed teacher interest. We got things that they were interested in learning about and then we also added things that we thought that they should know about so it was a combination of what we thought you should know and what you might want to know.
We created a leadership group in that project. You spent an hour each week just talking about learning and great tools for learning and, you know, what a good classroom looks like. So that group met on a weekly basis. We planned the PD, we put out a Google Form and got people to sign up to what they wanted to go to. Then about every five weeks we’d have a, we’d run a mini conference. And so you got to see what other people were doing and so you, again, chose to go along to a few sessions, around about 15–20 minutes each. And you’d choose three or four sessions, so one of those PD spots would be devoted to that. And then from that, that gave you some more information about something, an application perhaps, or something that someone else was doing, and then we’d say, “So okay, do you want to learn more about that? So for the next five weeks you can learn more about that particular thing.” It was quite brilliant in terms of of providing really good targeted PD and a range of choices for people. And so there was that readiness so that everyone was onboard. If you give teachers time to do stuff, they will do amazing things and they really did do amazing things in that project.