An InnovatED Solution to Professional Learning

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The Merced Union High School District went 1:1, deploying chromebooks to students. This session outlines the district's approach to building teachers' blended‐learning pedagogy and implementing 1:1 instructional best practices. Leave with tools for flipping PD and strategies to prepare teachers for blended teaching and learning.


I have a passion for using innovative technologies and approaches to improve teaching and learning and increasing student engagement, and have a desire to help empower others. It is my daily mission to change the game. After completing undergraduate work at California State University, Sacramento, I later obtained a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in curriculum and technology. 2016 marks my 24th year in education serving in the various roles of classroom teacher, teacher librarian, and technology integration specialist. I have provided professional development opportunities for staff, including integration of Google Apps as well as effective integration of other tools such as, YouTube, screencasting, website building, Twitter as PLN, and other cool apps and extensions. I have helped facilitate a flipped professional development model preparation for 1:1 teaching at my former high school, and that work led to my current position as a Technology Integration Specialist for the Merced Union High School District. During the past 1.5 years, I've worked to develop an online, on-demand professional learning platform of interactive courses for district staff. I have presented at numerous conferences such as: California School Library Association, California League of Schools, and Leadership 3.0 Symposium. I'm a Certified Trainer for Google Apps for Education, as well as Leading Edge Certified- Professional Learning Leader. I would love the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other educators all over the country and the world!
My life’s goal is to improve education for all students, to challenge the status quo, and to constantly get better at whatever I do. In essence, I want to learn all the things. I love reading, thinking, and technology. I try to learn something new everyday and to share that learning with others to help improve the classroom experience for our students. I have worked in education since I was eighteen when I began coaching speech & debate for Fresno Unified School District and then Clovis Unified School District. I completed by undergraduate work at California State University, Fresno in 2003. I have since completed three credentials--Single Subject, English, Teacher Librarian, and Administrative--and earned my M.A. in School Library and Information Technology from Fresno Pacific University. I began teaching English with Merced Union High School District in 2004, became a Teacher Librarian in 2010, and am currently at the district office designing online, on-demand professional learning courses for our district certificated, classified, and administrative staff. I am a born learner and am constantly looking for ways to improve my craft and challenge my own comfort zones. I am a Google Level 1 Certified Educator, I hold two Leading Edge Certifications--Professional Learning Leader and Administrative--and am currently working on my online teaching certification through OLC as well as my Apple Educator certification. I enroll in these programs not to collect certifications, but to increase my knowledge and to continuously improve myself.

Extended Abstract

    The Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) is a diverse high school district located in the central San Joaquin Valley of California. There are six comprehensive high schools and four alternative education schools, which serve approximately 10,000 students. In 2015, the Merced Union High School District hired a new superintendent, Alan Peterson.  Among the several innovative ideas Mr. Peterson brought to his position as superintendent, was an alternative vision for staff professional development opportunities.  Mr. Peterson believes that building capacity among staff through cutting-edge professional development is essential to furthering effective delivery of instruction in our schools' technology-rich environments.  Understanding that the "sit and get" style of professional development had not resulted in sustained success, Mr. Peterson charged teacher leaders, Jamie Dyra and Sheryl Garman, to design and create an online, on-demand professional development program for the district; the result is the InnovatED professional learning platform.

    InnovatED provides certificated, classified, and administrative staff anytime, anywhere professional learning opportunities. It is a truly blended approach to staff learning as participants can access the platform at their own time, place, and pace, yet also receive face-to-face, personalized support from a coach. InnovatED is a two-tiered platform that offers staff interactive courses for which they are compensated upon 90% mastery-level completion of all course activities, artifacts, and assignments.

The overarching goal of InnovatED is to enhance teaching and learning in the district. InnovatED achieves this by developing participants’ technology skills, improving instructional practices, facilitating professional collaboration, increasing productivity, and providing tools and tips for better management and professional practices. Participants acquire new learning in order to build their own capacity, followed by the application of that learning into their own teaching and professional practices.

    InnovatED was designed to model blended learning through its various course offerings with the hope that staff will be able to easily transfer blended learning strategies and lesson design into their own teaching.  Being a 1:1 district, Mr. Peterson and the MUHSD administration did not want school sites to focus too heavily on technology and tools resulting in the loss of proven, effective teaching practices; technology use cannot replace good teaching. InnovatED models blended learning, ensuring consistent and strong pedagogy and instructional technology integration.

    Dyra and Garman developed InnovatED using design thinking.  Design thinking dates backs to the 70s but is really starting to take hold in our educational world, most notably because of the Stanford and the popularity of the IDEO model. Google uses it as well. Dyra and Garman also have a background in technology integration, adult learning theory and professional training, and pedagogy.

    If selected to present an Education Session at OLC Innovate 2017, Dyra and Garman will share their process of developing the InnovatED platform, give an overview of the number of courses to date as well as number of participants, share how they go about building courses, provide attendees access to a sample online course, and present additional take-aways including technology tips and tools that facilitate blended learning environments.

    Thank you for your consideration!  We'd love the opportunity to share our story and assist other school districts looking to develop innovative professional learning opportunities for their staff.  

Included links to Board Presentation Update and Promo video:

Board Presentation Update

InnovatED Promo Video