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Personalizing Teacher PD: An Instructional Coach Who Created an Award-Winning Program, Q&A Part 1

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Personalizing Teacher PD: An Instructional Coach Who Created an Award-Winning Program, Q&A Part 1

This is Part 1 of our three-part interview with Justin Lim, an Instructional Coach at Rosemead High School in the El Monte Union High School District (EMUSD) in California. He recently completed the Educational Technology Master’s Program at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), recognized by US News & World Report as one of the top online graduate programs in educational/instructional technology.

At CSUF, Justin is the recipient of the Innovation in Educational Technology Award, which PowerSchool Learning sponsors. The award recognizes a graduating student who creates an online professional development module as part of a capstone project that reflects innovative uses of technology in meaningful and effective ways.

The capstone project is built into PowerSchool Learning’s platform, which is used in all of the program’s courses. We recently sat down with Justin to learn about his project, which he's implemented as part of a larger PD class for his colleagues at EMUSD.

PS: Justin, what were your goals in designing this PD class?

JL: We wanted teachers to experience blended learning in the same type of format that we would want teachers to deliver to students and we wanted to personalize the PD. We wanted the teachers to experience this so they can learn how to provide personalized learning for students.

PS: Can you provide an overview of the PD class you created?

JL: I created the class with a team of other instructional coaches. We have five total in our district. I took the lead on it because I was most familiar with PowerSchool Learning. I had been using it with Tim and Loretta [Dr. Tim Green and Dr. Loretta Donovan, professors in the CSUF program].

Within each class there are different modules. The first module is Learning and Tech, which is where they learn about 21st century learning.

Then teachers learned about the SAMR model, which is a paradigm for teaching in a blended classroom. There’s lots of stuff embedded in there from different software like Padlet and Zaption.

And then they finish with Tech for My Goals, which is almost like a digital tech fair because they can see a bunch different technologies that are organized and curated for them, so it's all very practical.

PS: How did you personalize the PD for the teachers?

JL: In the beginning of Tech for My Goals, there's a survey where teachers answer questions like "Do you have BYOD?" or "Do you have Chromebooks in your classroom?"

At the end of the quiz, the answers to these questions give teachers a starting point and personalized recommendations for where to start exploring in “Tech for my Goals”. We wanted to give some guidance because it would make a difference depending on how comfortable they are using technology or whether or not they have access to certain devices.

How does Justin address the challenges of creating and delivering teacher PD like this? Read Part 2 of our series coming up next or subscribe below to make sure you don't miss it!

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