Professional Development that creates collaborative digital environments while addressing content curriculum

While changes in schools happen slowly, professional development for teachers is being transformed through technology.  Gone are the prescribed agendas with approved district topics or mandates, replaced with teacher choice and voice. Teachers have been complaining about how professional development doesn’t benefit them in the classroom consequently, doesn’t even support them in their current work. 

Technology is helping us creating a collaborative environment that focuses on teaching content curriculum. One type of professional development is through Edcamps(unconferences), which allows for teacher choice, what they desire to learn. Being able to select their own learning experiences, accordingly they feel supported as teachers and better able to serve students. From my own experience, the Edcamp collaborative environment which allowed us to learn from each other impacted my instruction more than the traditional sit and get. The connection teachers make exist available to them afterwards, allowing them to ask in-depth questions and continue to benefit from their expertise and knowledge.

Traditional Edcamps are one day events with multiple concurrent sessions where attendees can leave a presentation if it’ not something they want to learn, they just find another session and they are mostly fluid. While not as powerful, consequently mini Edcamps also are becoming prevalent, incorporating a choice into hour long professional development.

Looking for other possibilities, Dr. Wicks suggested that “sounds like a challenge for TPACK research to resolve “suggesting the Learning Activities Types Website. The site created by Judi Harris & Mark Hofer, at the School of Education, College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia.

“This is a virtual place for folks interested in learning to “operationalize TPACK” (Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge) via curriculum-based learning activity types (‘LATs’) to get up-to-date information, and (more importantly) participate in the vetting and refining of the activity types in each of the curriculum areas in which activity type development is happening.”

While there is no Computer Science(CS) collection, there is a close link to Mathematics. CS is heavily based on Math, which is why schools can use AP Computer Science as a 3rd year Math. The activity types taxonomy in mathematics were created to integrate technology, content into a range of student learning activities, accordingly can be extrapolated to the CS Standards.

Computer Science Standards Math Activity Types
1. Computational Thinking “Consider” Activity Types
2. Programming “Practice” Activity Types
3. Computing Devices, Systems, and Networks “Interpret” Activity Types
4. Data representation and analysis “Produce” Activity Types
5. Global Impact / Social Issues “Apply” Activity Types
6. Effective Learning Environments “Evaluate” Activity Types
7. Connections and Collaboration “Create” Activity Types

The taxonomies are pedagogical, rather than technological, with an emphasis on organization, allows teachers to integrate them into the technology that is provided by the districts to better serves student outcomes.



Dorr, E. (2015, February 04). How Administrators Can Design the Best Learning Experiences for Teachers (EdSurge News). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from

Hofer, M., Harris, J., & Grandgenett, N. (n.d.). Mathematics Activity Types. Retrieved July 23, 2016, from

Howard, N., Ph.D., & Thomas, S. (2016, July 10). Edcamps: The New Professional Development. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from

Gilchrist, L. (2015, February 3). How a one-hour School Edcamp transformed our PD. Retrieved July 21, 2016, from

Johnson, K. (2016, June 28). 5 Things Teachers Want from PD, and How Coaching and Collaboration Can Deliver Them-If Implementation Improves (EdSurge News). Retrieved July 23, 2016, from

Mizell, H. (2010). Why professional development matters. Retrieved July 20, 2016 from


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3 thoughts on “Professional Development that creates collaborative digital environments while addressing content curriculum

  1. Your Coggle is impressive! What I would hope to see gained from a mini Ed Camp is not necessarily a lot of information, but a community of teachers who are going to work together through implementing something into their classrooms. I think you could also say gone are the days of traditional professional development as well as mandatory professional learning communities that are created on grade-level and content area (still beneficial) but are joined based on interest and a commitment to a resource or classroom model. I appreciate your perspective on these things!

  2. As we move toward teachers having more choice and voice, I think you hit on a good point of the need for virtual communities centered around sound practices and methodology.

  3. I was intrigued by the statement “operationalize TPACK,” and so I checked out the Learning Activity Types website. Very cool idea. The Secondary English Language Arts document is somewhat dated (last updated in 2011), but it’s clear how these documents can be used to demonstrate how a curriculum is meeting academic and technology standards. There is the added advantage of helping technology-shy teachers see how different types of technologies are a natural fit for activities that are already in the curriculum. And… your CS Standards – Math Activity table really helped me to understand the “learning activity” connections between those two areas of study.

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