Recently, AVI-SPL has had the pleasure of welcoming Patti Palancia to its team as education consultant. Palancia brings considerable experience to this role; prior to joining the company, she worked five years for SMART, the leading provider of interactive whiteboards and related technology solutions for the classroom.
Palancia’s extensive background in the field of education includes 13 years as a teacher in Ohio and Florida. She’s also been a clinical educator, teaching classroom management skills to students from St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida. In the near future, she plans to extend her impressive credentials even further by working toward a master’s degree in instructional design and technology.
During this discussion, Palancia talks about her work here at AVI-SPL and how she helps educators and school administrators add the latest technology to their classrooms to enhance learning objectives.
Discuss your position here at AVI-SPL.
Palancia: I work with schools and districts to implement long-term professional development plans and events that support student achievement with what AVI-SPL provides for the classroom. Internally, I support the sales staff with current education initiatives and topics, and assist with pre-sale and post-sale consulting.
A lot of my time is spent supporting and organizing large-scale events, such as the Summer Institute for Technology Integration, which is being held July 11-15 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Attendees will learn how to take what they teach and adapt it to digital applications. As for myself, I’m going to be learning how to be a facilitator for this model of technology integration.
I’m also partnering with other educational institutions and foundations to host user conferences and professional development sessions. I should note that my role will change as the needs of AVI-SPL change; I can see us reaching a broader customer base by doing even larger events.
What can you offer to teachers and schools looking to improve their instructional technology resources?
Palancia: When a school decides to invest money in hardware, my role is to work with the school on a needs assessment for professional development. I ask them, “What are your needs? What is the culture and climate of your school?” Then I assess the climate and available technology and ask what they want to see when they do a teacher observation a year from now.
How do you go about implementing a professional development plan for a school?
Palancia: We can work up different pieces to make that happen, like a mentoring program where I can work with four or five teachers. That work-embedded modeling seems to be the most successful track. Teachers can also have a content creation seminar at their school, where I show them how to put the materials together. I’d love to be able to schedule a day or two at one school and go from class to class.
What are some of the most common challenges you hear from teachers?
Palancia: Time is a big challenge. Using technology seems like an additional thing teachers have to learn how to do. I tell them not to worry — your students already know a lot and they can help you. I encourage them to give ownership of the technology to their students. There’s one of you and 25 of them. Make it a classroom adventure.
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