Clemente’s Digital Leadership Corps: Teachers make Technology a Priority in the Classroom
On Saturday, February 20, a group of Clemente teachers learned something life-changing: how to make a GIF. You may be wondering, What the heck is that? If you are, don’t worry, you’re no different than most of these teachers were just a few short months ago. Not only have these teachers since learned to make GIFs (short 5-10 second videos that play on repeat), but they have also learned a great deal about all that the internet and technology has to offer their instructional practice.
For the past year, these fifteen teachers have been meeting one Saturday per month to focus on one aspect of their instruction: technology. According to CNN, teenagers spend 9 hours per day using media, which includes phones, computers, TV, video games, etc. As a teacher, it can be hard to compete with that, but Clemente teachers are committed to trying! Last winter, Principal Sorensen partnered with Discovery Education to teach a group of selected educators the ways in which technology can be used to engage students, enrich instruction, and prepare students for an increasingly digital world. And so, Clemente’s Digital Leadership Corps (DLC) was born.
Since then, the Digital Leadership Corps has worked toward two main goals. The first, to make daily lessons more rigorous, interesting, and engaging for students by incorporating new forms of technology; the second, to lead the rest of the Clemente faculty to do the same. Last spring, teachers spent five Saturday professional development sessions and plenty of lesson planning time working on this first goal with the help of Discovery Education. Principal Sorensen gifted all DLC teachers with five classroom laptops, and students in these classes gradually became familiar with Web 2.0 Tools like Blendspace, Padlet, Kahoot!, Google Forms, and Zaption. Students were often heard talking about how awesome Mr. Landaverde’s class was that day or the super cool thing they did in Ms. Dryjanski’s.
This school year, the DLC meets monthly to work on their second goal– teaching the rest of Clemente’s faculty how to transform their instruction using technology– while still practicing the first. DLC teachers selected other teachers as “mentees” and committed to coaching them on their technology usage through observations and feedback sessions. While mentees expand on the basics, DLC-ers share and critique their latest instructional innovations with each other every month. This weekend’s GIF tutorial by Mr. Spooner is one of many examples of how their collaboration is working to create some serious “WOW” moments for students.