The Ed Tech Challenge: A Professional Development Framework and Resource Website

By September 13, 2013 Uncategorized No Comments

I have been working on a technology integration framework and MOOC (massive open online course) for my teachers for the last year with some of the most passionate and intelligent educators I know. The lead design team consists of Chad Kafka, Robert Pronovost, Kelsey Vroomunn, and Caroline Haebig, and the contributors consist of people I’ve met through the Google Certified Trainer & Teacher programs and through networking.

The project we’ve been working on, the Ed Tech Challenge, is a free technology integration course & framework designed to help a district shift all teachers towards digital age work & personalized learning environments.

The main components of the Ed Tech Challenge are:

  • A technology integration survey that gives teachers an individualized report on their current comfort level with the ISTE-NETS, personalized learning elements, and digital age work.
  • A self-paced course that includes six units of online tutorials (lessons focus on increasing efficiency / effectiveness of teaching practices)
  • A website template for classrooms (districts can link their individual template to the course)
  • A template to create personalized learning plans for educators (again, districts can link their templates to the course)
  • A framework to help a district move towards a shared vision of education technology

By signing up as a district, administrators will have access to the survey tool, the classroom website template, and personalized learning plans for their educators. As of today, only the first two of the six units are completely finished, but our district resources have already been downloaded by 25 districts serving over 125,000 kids.

My district (270 teachers across nine schools) has used elements of the framework to achieve the following:

  • 100% adoption of classroom websites in less than six months
  • 100% adoption of personalized learning plans for educators in less than two months
  • Personalized learning plans for all of the students in our elementary charter school and one of our high school charter schools
  • Consistent student portfolios across our elementary schools and middle school (will be deployed throughout this year)
  • Data that shows a definite increased understanding of personalized learning and education technology- the online tutorials support blended learning workshops for teachers, so teachers are able to experience what it is like to be students in a learner-driven environment

I am so impressed with all of my teachers’ hard work this year
, and I am also so lucky that I get to work with an incredibly supportive administration and with a fantastic team of six library media specialists. Two of my LMS’s achieved Google Apps Trainer certification last year, the other three returning LMS’s are finishing their final test on Monday, and our new LMS came to us with experience teaching graduate classes on Google Apps. These ladies rock!


I made a Prezi that explains the entire project- from conception to completion. I’ve been using and modifying this Prezi since last January- at school board meetings, local conferences, the Google Apps booth at ISTE, and with all 270+ of my teachers. I’m finally ready to finalize my message (seriously, this is the only Prezi I’ve ever made- I just keep modifying it!), so I recorded a video of my voice as I talk through it.

This video has four parts, and goes through my experiences with education technology as a new teacher, networker, technology coach, and district administrator. 

I’ve embedded the full video below, but if you’d prefer to watch it in parts, scroll just a little further down.

One more note: Since posting this, a few people have asked to use this video with their staff for professional development / pre-service teachers for class. No need to ask!!! Feel free to use and share. My only suggestion is to pause after each section for discussion- I didn’t do that with some of my first groups, and I regret it. All of the feedback I’ve received is that the discussions that followed each section were really powerful because people were sharing their personal successes / failures / ideas (which, let’s be honest- is way more interesting than just my reflections). Here are some discussion questions you can use after each part…


Link to video transcript (for printing):

Link to all four videos:
Learning that Technology is Not a Silver Bullet
Learning How to Ask the Right Questions


Learning How to Become a Productivity Machine


Learning that Change Occurs when People Work Together



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