On Monday, April 6, 2015, our district had an in-service day. In the new contract signed last year, our Education Association and District Administration agreed to add an in-service day to the school calendar. The day's intent was to allow teachers time to digitally convert their curriculum. The day was great! In the early stages of planning, I might have been a nay-sayer, but thanks to @Ashida_Linda and @MrsMiklusak, their wisdom prevailed. In the morning, spark sessions were given from a variety of staff members on topics from flipped classroom to the use of stop motion videos. The spark sessions flowed to two hours of EdCamp. You can read more about it here.
Not to change subjects, but recently my history classes finished learning about the industrial revolution. I can't help but make the connection between the in-service day and industrialization. No, I am not talking about horrible working conditions or child labor. I am writing on the needs for educated workers and the development of skilled laborers to work in factories. People needed to be educated to work the complicated machines and perform a specialized job.
The in-service day showed how teaching has become increasingly skilled. With the proliferation of technology and the ease of accessing information, teachers are shifting their role. New brain research drives educators to understand what methods work better to maximize learning. Brain research coupled with new technology, it is hard to stay current with both the brain research and the technology. The pedagogical techniques to meld these two together are difficult skills to master. The in-service day was great way to allow teachers to see a variety of new techniques and hear the latest brain research on effective teaching. It was even better because the day allowed for time to development, collaborate, explore and create materials for their classroom from the new understandings they received at the beginning portion of the day.