Unlike many conferences, handouts will be nowhere to be found at the week-long event designed to give teachers an opportunity to hone their 21st century skills. Instead, everyone will receive a laptop with data and resources already loaded onto the computer, which is theirs to keep.
The sessions will focus on the digital learner, 21st century content in the context of real world applications using 21st century tools, quality instruction design, performance assessment and strategic planning. Participants will learn how to integrate new standards into a lesson, among other skills.
“This is West Virginia teachers teaching West Virginia teachers,” said Institute Director Carla Williamson, the institute’s director and executive director of the WVDE’s Office of Instruction. “With this training, our teachers will be better equipped to teach problem solving and other higher order thinking skills.”
Counties have identified a four- to 32-member team of educators that includes central office staff, teachers and principals. The idea is that all teams will then help plan how 21st century skills will best be incorporated into their county system.
“The West Virginia Board of Education and the Department of Education know that change as called for in the 21st Century Learning initiative must occur system-wide if it is to be successful,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “Providing quality professional development is the key to helping teachers become literate with information and communication technology so that they can transform West Virginia’s schools into 21st century learning centers.”
The first Teacher Leadership Institute took place last month in Charleston for southern West Virginia educators. Both the Charleston and Morgantown institutes will be followed later this year with webinars, regional meetings and extended learning sessions to continue the transition to 21st century learning.
Without professional development, teachers will be hampered in their abilities to teach the other 21st century skills that West Virginia has deemed important, such as global awareness; financial, economic and business literacy; civic literacy; health and wellness; information and communication skills; thinking and reasoning skills; and personal and work place productivity skills, Paine said.
“We must help West Virginia teachers stay up to date,” Paine said. “We already have some of the best teachers in the nation but we need to help them adapt to today’s changing world.”
For more information, contact the Office of Instruction at (304) 558-5325 or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.