A Student points to a screen while a teacher listens

Students Teach Educators on Professional Development Day

District Tech PD Day_1 WDMCS students Quinn Kelly, Lauren Dettbarn and Abigail Bishop were supposed to have Monday, Sept. 15 off from school because it was a professional development day for teachers in the district.

The three girls were in class instead. In fact, the Jordan Creek Elementary sixth graders were teaching a class to educators from across the district.

“It was definitely different,” said Dettbarn, who admitted she was a little nervous at first. “But Mr. V says all the time that adults listen to kids more than adults listen to adults.”

District Tech PD Day_4Mr. V is Jordon Creek fifth grade teacher Jeff Ver Helst, who organized the session on using Google Docs in fourth through sixth grade classrooms. He asked the students to join him because knew his co-workers would want to see how technology can affect student learning from the student’s perspective.

Teachers attending the session learned how students can create, collaborate, edit and discuss writing through Google Docs, which is an online word processor that lets users create and format text documents and collaborate with other students in real time. Teachers also learned how to provide comments on student writing and check student progress.

“They were excellent learners,” said Bishop of her adult pupils.

Teachers liked having students help lead the class. “They took time to explain what they were doing while they District Tech PD Day_5showed it to us, which is like the reciprocal teaching that we want them to know how to do,” said Fairmeadows fourth grade teacher Karen Sipfle.

The class was one of 45 one-hour sessions focused on technology training for more than 600 WDMCS teachers and administrators. There were 37 simultaneous sessions and teachers chose at least five sessions to attend. The training was primarily on Google applications, but also other technology options related to differentiation in instruction.

The sessions were led by more than 55 trainers, who included district teacher leaders, Heartland Area Education Agency employees, and Google certified trainers. Ver Helst’s sessions were the only ones with students as trainers. His morning session on iPad apps included sixth-grade student instructors Jonah Cutler, Will Cooper and Gabe Schebel.

District Tech PD Day_3All three girls said they would do it again, even if it meant giving up another day off from school.







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