Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spotlight on Collaboration: District 214 ITF / DTC teams

Written by Linda Ashida


Collaboration characterizes our learning in District 214.

At EGHS we collaborate to learn and impact student learning. We collaborate via:

Across District 214 we collaborate to learn and impact student learning. We collaborate via:
  • District Learning Teams 
  • Internal University Courses
  • District Workshop
  • District Institute Days

Today's post will highlight the collaborative learning of one of our District Learning Teams: our  ITF / DTC teams.  These Innovative Learning Teams, one at each of the seven District 214 schools, include an Innovative Technology Facilitator (ITF) and three Division Technology Coaches (DTCs).  We facilitate professional learning in each of our respective schools in various ways, but we also collaborate across schools.  All of the ITF / DTCs teams come together one time each quarter to share our learning with each other.  These meetings often lead to spontaneous, yet meaningful, collaboration across schools that continues throughout the year.

For example, at our last ITF / DTC meeting, D214's Director of Professional Learning and Instructional Technology, Steve Kellner led us in a carrusel activity in which the ITFs rotated to the other schools'  DTC groups to learn about the highlights and successes of their work with teachers. Several schools' DTC teams shared how they implemented Spark Sessions on professional learning days: 3-5 minute presentations during which teachers share a successful learning strategy with their colleagues. These short presentations sparked interest and participation in more in-depth learning activities that followed.

After hearing about the success of the Spark Sessions at the other schools, the Elk Grove ITF / DTC team was inspired, and invited 10 teachers to do Spark Sessions for our Teacher In-Service day on April 6th. The feedback from our staff was so positive that we are already making plans to integrate more spark sessions in our professional learning activities next year.  At this meeting we also re-established the use of our Twitter hashtag #D214ITT (District 214 Innovative Technology Team) to share our work and to strengthen our learning network.

The District ITF / DTC meetings have also inspired cross-school team visits. For example, today I visited the Prospect High School ITF / DTC team.  I enjoyed a visit to DTC Frank Novak's coding class, and conversations with ITF Matt Hamilton and DTC Teri Buczinsky.  I came back to Elk Grove feeling energized with so many new ideas to share with our team.  We discussed ideas to do more cross-school peer observing. We also exchanged examples of how we use social media to build learning networks with our peers and our students.  I showed how we use Blogger to write our Collab Blog, and Teri shared examples of her posts on Medium: "Celebrate Innovative teaching." We discussed ideas to expand our blog posts and learning highlights across the district.

I would like to end this post with highlights of Teri's posts on Medium.  I like to think of them as "Spark sessions" in written form, highlighting the innovative teaching and learning of her colleagues at Prospect: Check them out!

The ITF / DTC teams are looking forward to facilitating even more collaboration across District 214 to multiply our own learning and impact learning for our students. To stay informed about the work of our ITF / DTC teams at all of our schools, remember to follow #D214ITT on Twitter.

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