After talking with several MT's and SI's from around the country, it is apparent that the drop-out rate for the Intel Teach courses can be high. Is it the course work? Not according to the teachers I have spoken with. Is it the content? Absolutely not! The Intel Teach curriculum is the finest in the world! Then what would cause a teacher taking the training to pull out? As many of us use this time of year to market the training, what suggestions do you have? I welcome your stories of the success you have had.
We have found that part of the problem is the amount of time and commitment it takes and no matter what you tell them ahead of time they don't get it until they are actually in the course. We have done a two hour intro session to go over all the expectations and share the Unit plan etc and answer questions before we actually got into the course. When we did that everyone who returned for the full days stayed and completed the course.
Sometimes it is trying to get the right people at the training. When training MT's people often send their tech people and sometimes they haven't been in a classroom for a long time and the Unit Plan just bogs them down and they have trouble moving ahead. The classroom teachers that complete it love it but don't have time to train so it can be a catch-22.
The 15 hour Element course on PBL has been successful in our area.
You have brought up a a good point- establishing expectations before the course actually begins. Your idea of the two-hour session is one that I would like to try for future cohorts.Those who have a problem with the expectations are less likely to return for the full course. No matter how many times we explain the expectations on day one, it is still overwhelming and impossible to some- usually those who do not finish.
I am just starting the class and I am trying the hybrid course. I am providing the opportunity to get reading or technology credit depending on their need. I have scheduled five dates; the first and last being face to face and all other may be completed online within deadlines set for discussions and other postings. I scheduled a phyical location for each Saturday of the training for those teachers who prefer face to face training, eventhough they will complete the activities online with the other participants. The first session is scheduled for April 10. Will let you know if they all complete the course!
From previous trainings I completed during the Spring of the year, issues that prevented participants from completing the course included death and vacations or they had to miss one session because of a family illness. We know that it is important to complete all modules, so you have the option of dropping the participants or you could make an effort to work with the participant to make up the time so that they can continue . . . I guess the key is being flexible.
The successful districts with which I have worked have made it clear that the Intel Teach courses are a district initiative. If a teacher's district is *pushing* the course and showing that the districts value the teachers' time through providing incentives. I have seen large and small incentives, and teachers seem to react to both. If a district's leaders are able to make it clear that they support the initiative and provide sub time, incentives, and good credit on the salary scale, I have seen far fewer dropouts.
Now, how do we convince districts that the courses are a great way to move toward transforming teaching and learning in school?
You are so right about Intel courses being "pushed" by the higher ups. One thing I can definitely say helped push our Intel courses, is the fact that our superintendent went through the Leadership Forum Master Teacher training. After participating in that course, he required one school to take the essentials course. Although, there were some incentives for the participants, the fact that the superintendent was aware of what needed to be done, helped a lot.
How cool would it be to have the Superintendent from each district understand and be so focused on helping teachers develop technology skills ! I think the focus would be greater than if the building's principal was present.
I'm interested in hearing how many other Superintendents have "encouraged" faculty members to participate in Intel Teach programs.
YES! The Leadership Forum is a great way to inform school and district leaders of the Intel programs.
We are still needing more master leaders for that program! I understand they must have been recent administrators. That makes it a bit difficult for us to find new leaders!
Thank you Neil for posting the question to to everyone else who responded. I have been living in shame because all of my students were drop outs. Many of them still use things that they got from our time spent in our training sessions but none of them completed the course. They did not seem interested in finishing the online portion; the face to face was good but not the independent work. My problems were numerous:
I thought that I had designed a course that anyone would engage a student and make them want to be immersed in Intel's wonderful resources and ideas so that I could train them so that they could then take over the world. Right. Not what happened. I did not have any graduates but my teacher students have taken much of our Intel work and have applied it to their class routines.
Next year I am hoping that I will be able to do weekly training sessions. So that most of their training is face to face with specific weekly homework assignments that they can complete online. My colleagues need more structure. Independent learning was not working for them. I am determined to come up with a viable solution for next year.
First of all, don't blame yourself. It sounds to me like your "students" have actually applied some of what you taught them in their own classroom. Three things that you mentioned are fairly consistent in the online class--time, lack of computer experience and a true understanding of what is required to succeed in an online class. Unless someone has actually taken an online class, I don't believe they truly understand what is expected and how much time it takes.
When I did my first Essentials Hybrid, I lost about 50%, mostly because of what I mentioned above. My very first Essentials was Face to Face and I graduated all but one. For many teachers, the F2F is the best model. We did one module a week and they had a lot of success.
Hopefully, next time will be better. Let us know what happens. If I can be of any help, just holler!
I agree with Neil regarding how many of your "dropout participants" may be actively integrating Intel Teach in their lessons. I have had similar experiences where those I taught did not finish the course. I am always surprised when I chat with one of these teachers and am told what they are doing with students. Almost every discussion revolves around how they are including something from the class "too bad I was unable to finish it, my students really like what we are doing!" I think the majority of those who begin any Intel Teach program are influenced in their pedagogy by the program.
Do you think involving these participants in this community would help them be more successful in completing their program?
Anyone who has participated in the Intel Teach Program can be invited to our community. There is a flyer you can download and print or send via email to anyone you think might benefit. Community flyer to invite others to join Engage
Let me clarify, I mean anyone who IS participating; it is not necessary that they have already completed a class to join.
This is a great conversation as attrition is a problem with all virtual learning environments. The key is to create a very comfortable, supportive (even fun) atmosphere online much like you do in the face to face. Sometimes no matter what you do though, people aren't ready for it...yet. It is great to hear that good results are produced when people are exposed to the content of the course at any level; they are taking what they can and implementing it back in the classrooom where it counts.
I would love it if this thread continues as people share their frustrations and solutions that they have found.