A Year with Ruben Puentedura: Redesigning Traditional Professional Development

This past Wednesday marked the third and final installment of  Ridley College‘s year-long SAMR, EdTech Quintet, and TPCK professional development with Dr. Ruben Puentedura.  It was a year that required ongoing faculty commitment to professional learning, a willingness to take risks in  classrooms, and a genuine curiosity about the ‘transformative’ (and often disruptive) impact of technology in 21st century curriculum design.  It was PD that asked a lot from teachers, teachers  already ensconced in task forces, coaching assignments, activities and community service, IB training, and full course loads.

When I first envisioned a partnership with Dr. Puentedura, my hope was that it would spark a new community dialogue in our School, complete with a shared language for both teachers and administrators, about the role of technology in teaching and learning. My hope was that it would further inspire us to take risks, create and innovate, and push our students to do the same. What I witnessed over the course of the year surpassed all expectations.

Design: I think what helped to make this a personalized and rewarding experience, was that teachers were active participants in their learning.  In many ways they shaped the design of their PD, tailoring it to their proclivities and interests.  Sessions were structured to give teachers the freedom to choose what they wanted to research, restructure, or design.  The overall structure of the PD was a blend of lecture, group inquiry, design, informal peer presentation, and Q and A.  In the first session in August, Dr. Puentedura presented his SAMR framework and the EdTech Quintet model and fielded our queries.  By that afternoon teachers worked in breakout sessions and began applying SAMR directly to their chosen lesson or unit of instruction.


1990. Peter Steiner.


Innovate: The second session in November again gave teachers direct access to Dr. Puentedura.  In small imitate group settings, teachers shared their applications and outcomes with one another.   Dr. Puenteudra provided personalized critique and feedback.  Teachers left these sessions with a renewed focus, new ideas, and ofttimes merged their projects across curriculum.

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Reflect: Our last session this past week had teachers voluntarily share their experiences in a full faculty assembly. They reflected openly on the strengths and weaknesses of various steps and aspects of their action plans.  These sharing sessions provided an excellent overview of this year-long experiment. Special thanks to Ridley faculty Gillian Fournier, Allison Harding, Scott Vernon, and Chris Gordon for their courage and willingness to participate in this tech “show and share” session. They brought SAMR to life and demonstrated what taking risks in the classroom can achieve.  The day closed with a final presentation from Dr. Puentedura about ‘designing for growth’ and maintaining a culture of innovation and risk taking.

It was truly a rich and vibrant PD series, and I am honored that I was apart of it. Great things are happening in our classrooms everyday and there is much we can learn from one another. We must make time for these conversations as they are vital to our growth and development as a community of learners.  As a school, we are now equipped with a shared language, experience, and reservoir of ideas and best practice.  While I am sad to say “Goodbye” to Ruben for now, I am grateful for his time and dedication to our Faculty.



Dr. Puentedura has uploaded his presentation slides from his time at Ridley on his weblog.  Included here for your convenience are all three presentations.

August 27, 2014. SAMR In The Classroom

November 28, 2014. SAMR In The Classroom: Developing Sustainable Practice

September 2, 2015. Technology in Education: Designing For Growth

2 thoughts on “A Year with Ruben Puentedura: Redesigning Traditional Professional Development

  1. Shelley,
    Your success was certainly due to the architecture of the experience, but your vision is also key! Congrats on a great experience, and I can’t wait to see what great experiences are in store for your students! Also, the feedback that he provided was no doubt important so that the participants could see their work through the eyes of others.

    Thanks for sharing the decks as well.

    • Thanks, Garth. I hope to be working again with Ruben in the coming months (some talk of research). I spoke to him about Cohort 21, and he was very supportive of and impressed by the work being done through this group. Kudos to you and Justin!

      Once the dust settles with School Start Up here at Ridley, I will begin hosting “Lunch and Learns” again throughout the term to continue the #RidleyLearns Connected Educator Programme. Would love to develop this further. Lots of ideas have come out of the PD experience.

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