Creativity in Crisis: Delivering ed-tech PD with ‘Tech Tidbits’

Minnesota tech director says her videos give teachers ideas they can use right away

Professional development in ed tech takes many forms, and it has become an even more critical part of K-12 education since the shift to online learning.

In Brainerd Public Schools in Minnesota, Director of Technology Sarah Porisch has been using her weekly “Tech Tidbit” video series to give teachers tips on everything from photo editing to classroom management apps to accessibility.

“When I was first hired, the district was looking for more communication between the tech department and teachers,” Porisch says. “The Tech Tidbits are a way to have a weekly point of contact, and they give teachers something they can use right way.”

Porisch, who calls her videos “little snippets,” never makes a video longer than two minutes to keep the information simple and digestible. Teachers get email alerts when new videos are posted.

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Recents videos have covered the various features Google sheets, speech-to-text accessibility, and apps that let teachers observe students’ work as they solve math problems, she says.

She films many of her Tidbits over the summer but will make videos during the school year in response to teacher requests.

“This is just one part of a much larger staff development program that includes in-person training and tech-specific book clubs,” Porisch says. “This is just something our teachers like because they don’t have to go looking for it.”

Below is Porisch’s video on classroom management apps:

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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