SET-BC consultants kicked off the 2015-2016 school year at a three day Provincial Plenary Session where they prepared for the coming year, explored effective Professional Development strategies, and reconnected with colleagues and met new team members.
On September 8th, consultants from around the province met in Richmond. After getting set up with their technology tools, the group heard from the Ministry and then spent the afternoon discussing plans for the coming year. With the program rolling out the three-tiered service model provincially, consultants had much to discuss as they reviewed the current status of district requests and their roles in supporting Tier 1 Pro D, Tier 2 classroom-based and Tier 3 student-based solutions. During the discussions, practical decisions were made about how to support the many requests that have come forward from school districts since the middle of May. To help facilitate collaboration and communication, consultants learned how to share their calendars. They rounded out the day by looking at a tool to facilitate audience participation in their workshops and by entering the year’s provincial meeting dates in their schedules.
On the second day of the Plenary Session, George Couros led a workshop exploring strategies for effective Professional Development facilitation. As all consultants are involved in delivering Professional Development workshops and technology training sessions, George helped the group look at the need for improving the typical “one shot” workshop by providing participants with ways to connect and share during and after the workshops. One of the memorable quotes of the day was “the smartest person in the room is the room.” The afternoon was spent looking at how a social media tool like Twitter can be used to connect educators for answering questions, finding resources, and improving pedagogy. George not only introduced broad thought provoking concepts to the group but also demonstrated specific tools that the consultants could use with their workshop participants.
The third day of the Plenary Session started with the consultants bringing the previous day’s Professional Development into discussions about their own Pro D and training facilitation. Looking at the 8 strategies for improved Professional Development, consultants discussed how they could bring these strategies to their workshop planning. They also spent time learning about the new SET-BC AfterShare initiative which will provide workshop participants with follow up training and support. The consultants began to create their own AfterShare spaces in anticipation of their upcoming workshops. Before lunch, the consultants broke into small teams to look at Little Bits – kits of circuitry pieces that can be easily combined into a myriad of devices. Little Bits can be used for MakerSpace activities – the consultants used them to make a device while considering how current educational strategies and frameworks could be used to introduce them to students.
After lunch, consultants met in their specific role groups – service coordinators, Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 consultants. They reviewed the many service requests, planned for their initial contacts and meetings, and began discussions about resource development.
The three days went by very quickly – before they knew it consultants were returning to their home base anxious to get started serving district and school teams. It is going to be a very busy year – the Provincial Plenary Session was an important planning and learning opportunity for SET-BC consultants who are heading out to deliver three tiers of technology service.