Laren Jackson, ed.d.
The G'Suite for Me! Experience allows teachers to work with peers in a team environment to hone their craft and enrich their classrooms. In this model of professional development, teachers are matched to form a "Jump Team" based on their self-selected learning topic. The Jump Teams are flexible and designed to serve each teacher's training needs. They may be multi-level teams, even different content areas: their bond is the common desire to learn a specific topic. The learning occurs in 3 to 6 week cycles of feedback - teachers apply the tool or skill in their classrooms and evaluate at the end of the cycle. If the teachers determine success - celebrate! Reflection is a large part of the process of learning, and tools for reflection include Google Forms, Flipgrid, Google Docs, Keep, Google Drawing, and even written paper reflections. At this point, the teacher may determine to continue on with deeper learning, or abandon the topic and try something new. The communication with the small Jump Team is crucial so that the educator will not feel isolated. At the mid-year point, teachers gather to share and celebrate learning (which may include spectacular failures!) This process allows teachers to learn from others in an environment of trust. Jump Teams can be reformed at any of the reflection points since they are created by common learning interests. The valuable hours spent trying the skill or tools in the classroom with be the basis of reflection. The end of year celebration will include a Gallery Walk so teachers can see how far they have come and get new ideas for their continued learning. The presentations at the Gallery Walk will be flexible examples of learning - creativity and fun is encouraged. The G'Suite4Me! website includes ideas for possible study topics and also alternative assignments. For example, if a group of educators desire a certification (Google Certifications, Flipgrid Certifications, or other similar learning environments) they may form a Jump Team. There is an FAQ page for teachers to reference. The beauty of this type of self-selected learning is the motivation factor. Teachers spend lots of time learning about things they are passionate about - they will now get professional development acknowledgement. It is my hope that districts will use this type of training to allow teachers agency, and give them district credit for the innovative learning they accomplish. They will share their joy of learning with their students, they can't help it.