North Carolina’s Guilford County School District is implementing Hoonuit’s professional development solution to help educators reach statewide digital competency requirements.
The opportunities for technology to transform learning are truly endless — especially when wielded by skilled and creative educators. Just ask Lisa Keith, a blended learning specialist at Guilford County School District in North Carolina with over 23 years of experience as an educator. Keith’s formidable experience — along with her technological savvy — has been instrumental in her current role, in which she supports teachers as they incorporate technology into the classroom.
Her skill set has proven especially relevant in the wake of a new statewide policy that requires all educators in North Carolina to master two “Digital Learning Competencies” (DLCs) as part of the licensure renewal process. As a result, Keith has been working to onboard teachers in her district to Hoonuit’s platform, where they can access professional development resources that support these new requirements.
We spoke to Keith about the new policy, the educator onboarding process, and her goals for the future of technology in her school district.
Why a PD Solution?
North Carolina’s new requirements aim to help administrators establish a clear vision for digital teaching and learning throughout their districts, and to empower teachers with the relevant classroom skills they need to make that vision a reality. But in order to help educators fulfill these new requirements, Guilford needed a comprehensive professional development solution that teachers could use to track progress and meet goals.
“We started using Hoonuit in May of this year,” says Keith. “We thought it would be a good fit for our teachers, especially those who are really busy. With Hoonuit, they can do what they need to do to gain these competencies on their own time, at their own pace.”
What Teachers Think
Since the district implemented Hoonuit, Keith says the platform has been well received and that teachers appreciate the flexibility and accessibility it offers. “What I love about Hoonuit is that you’re working at your own pace,” says Keith. “You don’t have to rush through it, you can revisit things, you can actually learn the material.”
“Hoonuit also has a variety of different courses that can be used to address every situation possible,” Keith continues. “The feedback I’ve been getting from a lot of the teachers is, ‘I love this!’” Because of the flexibility the platform provides, Keith says teachers been better able to organize their summer schedules. While some have already flown through the coursework, others plan to revisit before the school year starts up again.
“It’s giving teachers a break,” says Keith. “They don’t have to think in terms of ‘I can’t go on my vacation this summer because I have to attend face-to-face PD workshops.’ Instead, they can manage their own calendars.”
Keith admits that some teachers remain wary. “It’s something new,” she says. “You have to be introduced to it, get familiar, and realize that it’s not as overwhelming as it may seem.” To compliment Hoonuit’s offerings, the district will continue to offer face-to-face PD options so that teachers can choose what works best for them. “You have some people who need face-to-face, and some people who don’t need a face-to-face. We’re just reaching the variety of learners that we have here in the district,” says Keith.
A Better, Blended Future
Keith’s goal for the district is to use her position as a blended learning specialist to help both teachers and students overcome any hesitations they may have about using technology. “I want to show everyone how technology can be blended into education, how easy it is, and that they shouldn’t be afraid of it,” she says.
To achieve these goals, Keith is using the district’s website as a hub where resources are made available to teachers who are just getting their feet wet with Hoonuit. She’s added navigation directions, annotated screenshots, and even plans to film a tutorial video that answers any lingering questions teachers may have about Hoonuit.
By providing educators in her district with the support they need to learn new technology skills, she hopes they will be able to better integrate these digital tools into the curriculum, ultimately creating more engaged and successful students.
Interested in learning how your district can use Hoonuit’s professional development solution to push the boundaries of technology in the classroom? Check out our professional development capabilities here.
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