Doing As We Do, Not As We Say

CategoriesEDLD 5389professional learningTagged

Alternative Professional Learning, Part 1: The Presentation

A call to action, aimed primarily at the decision-makers in my district, but applicable anywhere:


Alternative Professional Learning, Part 2: Behind The Scenes

The basic intention of my presentation, the “why” behind my entire innovation plan, is that I want to enable teachers to bring the idea of the growth mindset, as exemplified by the creative process of revision and feedback, into their own classrooms and subject areas, and I want to do this by first giving them exposure to that creative process, and then reflecting on how it can be applied to their particular environments. In other words, I want to teach them in the same manner that I hope they themselves will teach. This idea is central to my innovation plan and to this presentation–teachers are learners, just as our students are, and the same principles and practices can and should be applied in both environments.

Like any worthy creative person, I drew from my own life experience to tell the story I told in my presentation. This week I have been going through my closet and drawers and taking stock of my wardrobe, getting rid of some things and trying to figure what new things I needed, and what old things could be kept or repurposed. At some point the parallel between “shopping in your own closet” and utilizing the resources and expertise in our own school buildings jumped out at me, and I believed that wearing clothes was a topic everyone has experience with, and thus could appreciate the analogy. Thus, I was off.

I created the video using a variety of technological platforms. The main visual presentation was created in Google Slides; the simplicity of that platform and easy coordination with Google Docs made slide creation simple. I then did a screen capture of the video presentation in WeVideo and recorded and edited the voiceover in Audacity, importing that into WeVideo for the finished product. I uploaded the completed presentation to YouTube and embedded that video into my blog, as evidenced above. I tried very hard to keep in mind Duarte’s Five Rules for Presentations and Phillips’ video advice for avoiding “death by PowerPoint.” I especially focused on Duarte’s advice to practice design rather than decoration, and on Phillips’ various suggestions to control where the audience looks on any given slide; I admit to shamelessly stealing his technique of highlighting list items as they are discussed. Both of these skilled presenters embody the idea of letting one’s material stand on its own, and using visual presentation techniques to enhance that material, rather than distract from it, and I hope I was able to do the same.

REFERENCES (Video and blog post)

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2016). Consumer Expenditures in 2016. Retrieved from

Chesterfield County Public Schools. (2018). More than 1,000 people participated this weekend at STEAM Family Day, held at the Science Museum of Virginia. The event showcased STEAM-related work at 21 of our schools. Many thanks to Ms. Sawyer from Evergreen Elementary for the great photos! [Facebook post]. Retreived from

Chesterfield County School Board. (2018). Imagine Tomorrow. Retrieved from

Darling-Hammond, L., Chung Wei, R., Andree, A., & Richardson, N. (2009). Professional learning in the learning profession: A status report on teacher development in the United States and abroad. Oxford, OH: National Staff Development Council.

GoogleCloud Official Blog. (2014, June 6). Chesterfield County Schools (VA) goes Google with 32,000 Chromebooks [blog post]. Retrieved from

Gulamhussein, A. (2013). Teaching the teachers: Effective professional development in an era of high stakes accountability. Center for Public Education. Retrieved from

Harris, B.[@BryanHarrisJRHS]. (2018, September 27). Hey, @Soundtrap! What’s the meaning of this? Kids all over the place, working together, creating music? IN SCHOOL?!? [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Mrs.Couillard’sClass[@RaidersWhoCode]. (2018, December 5). #inclusiveschoolsweek continues at #robioUS with an I’m Determined activity on strengths and struggles. #oneccps [Tweet].Retrieved from

TNTP. (2015). The mirage: Confronting the hard truth about our quest for teacher development. Retrieved from

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About the author

I am an instructional technologist for the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond, VA. Before that, I spent more than 20 years as a public school music teacher in Chesterfield County, VA, primarily teaching guitar and music technoogy at the high school level. I hold a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Richmond, and a Master of Education degree with a focus on Digital Learning and Leading from Lamar University. I believe that every person has the need, the desire, the ability, and the right to learn, and that as educators we must meet our students wherever they are, and help bring them to where they want and deserve to be.