At the start of every new school year, HCISD teachers attend a week-long training that provides them with ideas, tools, and other resources to be better prepared for the following year. The topics covered at these training events change depending on current needs. This year, the focus will be to ensure that teachers are familiar with the online learning platform that they will be using when school begins.
Seesaw, a digital learning platform that can be used with students in or out of the classroom, will be the training focus at the elementary level.
“Before, we did cover a little bit of digital every year, but our training’s focus was a lot more on content,” Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education, Lori Romero said. “We are going to get into content this year because we are going to show them how to create lessons on this app and what they should look like, but with Seesaw, the training will be more about how to use the application.”
More than 400 teachers across our elementary schools are already using Seesaw. However, Harlingen CISD has more than 600 elementary teachers, and the district wants to make sure that all teachers are ready to implement Seesaw into teaching and learning.
“A lot of our teachers are already very familiar with this app, but we want to make sure that everybody is well-versed on the same platform,” Romero said. “Seesaw has a free version and one that you can buy for the district. We bought the paid version, and along with that we have also purchased training for all of our teachers.”
Teachers will be going through four modules to learn how to use Seesaw, both at a beginning and advanced level. Each training will be a two-hour session that will take place online.
“One of them is Seesaw 101, which is kind of an introduction,” Romero said. “It tells you how to use everything. Then they have a Seesaw 201, which is a little bit more advanced where you get into specifics like how to upload and grade lessons using Seesaw.”
Another two lessons teachers will cover through these modules will focus on students and families. They will learn how to connect students to the application. The family component will cover how to connect the student’s family because a big part of Seesaw is family engagement.
Teachers at the elementary level will also receive training on how to use their textbook online curriculum and resources.
“Another thing they will be training on is Pearson online,” Romero said. “Reading and math have an online component. Our teachers got a little bit of training, but not enough last year. Now that some students are going virtual, we want them to be very aware of how to use these resources.”
Along with training teachers over digital platforms and content for the subject they teach, the school district will also be providing health and safety training to better prepare educators for whatever the next school year will bring.
“Overall we want our kids learning from home to have the same experience as if they were in the classroom face-to-face,” Romero said.