When Atlanta slipped into national news for not being prepared for #SnowJam14 it was instantly looking for redemption. A rematch was granted by Mother Nature Valentine’s week in the form of an even bigger winter storm. Tuesday through Friday schools were cancelled in advance; it was a good call. Some places in the northern part of Hall County, Georgia racked up the precipitation like 8.5″ in Cornelia (Wednesday-Thursday).

Tuesday and Wednesday turned into DIY Professional Learning from your home for educators in my 012914_snow_BG13district.  Our Superintendent called it our “flipped classroom/work-at-home” experiment and he tasked us to utilize our time as responsible professionals and gave us suggestions such as posting “flipped” activities to our teacher web pages, emailing authentic tasks which could be completed by students at home, work collaboratively via Google Docs, analyze data on students, and of course he left it open for completing tasks which are always outstanding for the classroom teacher. What was exciting about this development was that feeling of being a respected professional in recent times which have included some hash judgments upon teachers.

My elearning group was excited to see the mix of options presented to teachers. This was to be mainly an asynchronous task and some of the digital tools available were being utilized for the first time. Our philosophy is to get teachers into digital tools before we expect them to use those tools with students, so this was a big deal. We enjoyed many emails and tweets for assistance even beyond those two days. When given time and a purpose our teachers utilized digital tools well!

Our superintendent pondered this might be “a catalyst that nudged our district to the next level of utilizing the numerous tools at our disposal.”  Welcome to the most exciting professional development I have enjoyed!

I submitted this to ASCD for my “Most Exciting Professional Development.” I received notice May 16, 2014 that it was selected for publication!

ASCD publication notice May 2014