How CTS Supports Schools’ Tech. Professional Development Programming

Professional development drives outcomes.

Schools spend large amounts of money on technology each school year. With so many dollars at stake, it’s a wonder that schools often struggle to make the most of their substantial technology investments. The price of purchasing student Chromebooks, staff laptops, classroom projectors, and SMART boards at scale adds up quickly, leaving fewer dollars behind for other instructional priorities. In some cases, teachers who would otherwise make use of the school’s technology investments fail to do so not because they see little use for it but rather because they don’t know how, exactly, to integrate it into regular instruction.

All too often, school professional development offerings fail to bridge this gap, leaving the school with less money on-hand for other expenses and with few tangible instructional benefits to show from their substantial investments. Rather than addressing the “how” and “why” behind their school’s technology purchases, school administrators often mistakenly believe that teachers will, unprompted, adopt the new technology into their regular classroom practice. If the SMARTboard is mounted on the wall, the projector bulb is working, or the laptop is fully charged and ready to go, it’s tempting to think that teachers will magically begin to use the school’s technology beginning on day one.

Teachers won’t use their school’s technology if they haven’t been taught how to use it. That’s where CTS comes in. Our team offers comprehensive technology-related professional development sessions to bridge the gap between school leaders’ good intentions and daily classroom practice. By showing teachers the full range of their school’s technology, we believe they’ll make the most of it during daily instruction and positively impact student achievement.

CTS offers comprehensive professional development programming across the entire Google suite lineup.

Google products (e.g., Drive, Docs, Sheets) are used in thousands of schools across the country. If you’re looking for a place to start improving your teachers’ technology literacy, Google’s suite of products is a strong place to start. Google Docs, Sheets, and Classroom allow teachers and students to collaborate in real-time, facilitating group projects, feedback, and assignment distribution and collection.

Google’s products can also enhance teacher productivity. For example, scaling Google Calendar across a school or grade level can allow teachers to use their time more effectively by mapping precisely which blocks of time they have set aside for planning, duties, or other tasks throughout the day. Likewise, by shifting more and more work streams into the Google ecosystem, school leaders can synchronize their school systems and unlock further efficiencies.

As some schools embrace “hybrid” learning models, these products are poised to play an even more central role. Students and teachers used Google Classroom widely during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As students transition back to in-person learning, many teachers continue to use the platform to distribute assignments, provide feedback on student work, and send class-wide announcements to their students and families. Our team’s professional development offerings can get teachers up to speed on Google’s educational products and maximize their benefits for learners.

Our team’s understanding of the most commonly used student information systems is unmatched.

Teachers, support staff, and administrators engage with the school’s student information system (SIS) on a near-daily basis. From taking attendance and entering grades to pulling academic data and behavioral reports, a school’s SIS is often the “hub” of the school’s broader student data programming. For this reason, it often makes sense for school leaders to target their school’s technology PD efforts toward the SIS.

But while teachers are often familiar with the SIS’s basic features, they often lack the know-how to unlock the platform’s full potential. For instance, many SIS platforms offer custom reporting features that allow teachers to place academic, behavioral, and attendance datasets into conversation with one other, revealing the links between each distinct metric.

Similarly, some SIS platforms have data visualization tools that allow school leaders to map student-level data trends over time. These tools are useful in a variety of settings, including for parent-teacher conferences, school board meetings, and school- or grade-level academic data reviews. CTS can help schools make the most of these tools and offer suggestions for how teachers can integrate SIS features into their regular practice.

Classroom systems won’t make an impact if teachers don’t know how to use them. Orient your school’s professional development content accordingly.

A projector, SMARTboard, or other equipment won’t be effective if teachers don’t know how to use it. Along with the high price tag, the sheer bulk of these items won’t justify their purchase if a teacher won’t use them. For this reason, it’s critical that schools train their teachers on how to use their classrooms’ SMART boards, projectors, and other technology that comes “standard” in each of the school’s classrooms.

For each of these products, there are often integrations teachers can use to expand the technology’s benefits further. For instance, SMART Notebook can allow teachers to track and manage lesson plans within the SMART framework and hold student attention with highly visual, engaging content displays, enhancing opportunities for content mastery.

Likewise, teachers who are more familiar with their classroom technology will also be more prepared to address common issues that arise through the products’ use. A teacher who’s aware of common SMARTboard issues will, for instance, be less likely to have his lesson plan derailed by a “quick fix” covered during the school’s professional development offering.

Our team can also train your school’s teachers on commonly used educational software.

Online instructional systems like Newsela and BrainPop can increase teacher efficiency, allowing them to target their interventions where they’ll make the most impact. Professional development offerings tailored to these and other common online instructional platforms can enable teachers to reach a greater number of learners in a shorter period of time and provide real-time insights into students’ content mastery.

Our team’s longevity in the educational technology space gives us the insights and technical know-how to effectively train your school’s teachers on the most common online instructional platforms. From high-level overviews to nuts-and-bolts deep dives, our team can show your school’s teachers the full range of these platforms’ capabilities. Beyond these offerings, our team can also help resolve common rostering issues that would otherwise derail the use of the platform, giving teachers the tools they need to avoid common pitfalls associated with the platforms’ use.

Your non-instructional team can also benefit.

Of course, tracking and managing your technology inventory is critical. If a school can’t keep a handle on its student or staff laptops, they’ll waste precious financial resources each year needlessly replacing devices. While teachers have their sights trained on instructional-facing platforms, our team can also offer professional development programming to non-instructional staff, exposing them to best practices in school technology management.

For instance, one of the first things we can work with your team to build is a “golden source” of school technology—a single online location anyone in the school can navigate to pinpoint exactly which pieces of school technology are working and where they’re being used. With those insights at hand, your school’s non-instructional team can tell school leadership the exact number of devices that need repair, replacement, or re-purposing at the end of each school year. With every Chromebook the school can repurpose each year, it can invest additional dollars into other instructional priorities like classroom libraries, science kits, and other curricular materials that might otherwise be out of reach.

Finally, bring us in for your next special project. We’ll help you integrate cutting-edge technology into the classroom.

Certain technical projects require extra support. This is true for schools, new and old, big and small. Particularly at schools with in-house IT teams, the scope of a project might exceed the technical know-how of school employees. By partnering with a managed IT firm like CTS, your school’s in-house team can acquire the technical knowledge it needs to accomplish your school’s complex IT project. Whether it’s a new A/V system in the school’s gymnasium, installation of a new SMARTboard model across classrooms, or something unique to the school’s instructional model (e.g., a new robotics lab), investing in professional development for your school’s in-house IT team can yield benefits for the school community as a whole.

CTS helps schools use professional development to make the most of their technology investments.

Our team has worked with more than 60 schools across the United States to make the most of their technology investments. Hardware, software, and technical project costs quickly add up, leaving fewer resources behind for other instructional priorities. Given the stakes, it’s crucial that schools make the most of their school’s existing technology inventory.

Through comprehensive professional development offerings, our team can offer school leaders and teachers the know-how they need to maximize the benefits of their school technology and ultimately drive student achievement. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your school accomplish its unique mission.

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