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School Stories

Empowering Phenix City Teachers with On-Demand PD

Nefertiti Dukes | February 05, 2021

Phenix City

In March, Phenix City teachers were given just two days to prepare for remote learning. While every student already had a device and access to a robust set of technology tools, teachers wanted more training to ensure they were effective in the new mode of instruction.

Tamara Sanders, the district’s Instructional Technology specialist, came up with a novel solution. Instead of hours of meetings, she recommended that teachers take the Master the Screencast and Genius! Courses (our two on-demand certification courses). She called the courses the perfect example of “just-in-time, convenient” learning for educators.

Tabby Booth, one of the educators Tamara works with, explaining how the Master the Screencast course has aided her instruction.

Not only did most of her teachers meet the challenge, but they also felt empowered while doing it! Her teachers noted that most professional development sessions are one-size-fits-all 😴 . With the Screencastify certifications, teachers could learn at their own pace.

For teachers who were tech-savvy, the course served as a refresher and the source of a few new ideas. For teachers who were brand-new to using technology (and Screencastify), the course was a game-changer! They were able to pause and replay the videos as many times as they needed without any embarrassment or social pressure. Regardless of which group they fell into, teachers fell in love with the idea of learning on-demand.

And, the district team honored educators who earned their certificates. Check out their Twitter page and you’re inundated with praise of teachers who have earned an hour of PD credit and a brand new badge. You can also check out all of their certified educators on a special page Tamara built to honor the accomplishment.

Since the certification spree, the district team has been visiting classrooms weekly to support teachers. The team noticed that teachers have been able to fully focus on one task with the help of Screencastify. Before teachers started embracing video, they were simultaneously providing remediation, explaining directions, and conducting whole-group instruction. Now, teachers are able to deploy videos to help with some of their tasks.

Students who need extra help are given one Screencastify video, students who need a refresher on the directions for the day are given another, and the teacher is able to fully focus on the lesson at hand.

As the district team aides teachers, they’ve also been practicing what they preach and allowing teachers to experience learning through video for themselves. Even before COVID, the district’s leadership team modeled paperless staff meetings. Prior to the meeting, teachers had access to Screencastify videos explaining new procedures and requirements. Plus, the superintendent regularly uses Screencastify to post important announcements.

When asked, Tamara Sanders noted that getting more teachers using Screencastify has helped empower them and their students. Teachers are learning at their own pace, able to focus on just one task at a time, and allowing their students to have the same freedom to learn.