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Using Goals to Refocus Professional Development

Author: Zach Fodor | Blog |

This is part three of a three-post series on SMART goals.

In the second post of this series, we discussed how SMART goal setting is a way of expanding and enhancing education for all students. Today, we explore a new frame of mind and a collaborative way of working from within the classroom in order to refocus student learning with SMART goals.1

Our collaborative approach to instruction can model the relevance of technology into curriculum, instructional practice, and support. For this reason, we should embrace educational technologies to refocus our instruction and meet the diverse needs of our students.2

To uphold achievement in effective digital learning environments, we can:

  • Implement technology as a tool in the learning process. To impact student achievement in positive ways, our use of classroom technology must be aligned to SMART goals and content standards to inform our teaching, learning goals, and progress.2&3
  • Work collaboratively with technology and instructional coaches to support instructional change.2

Since educators, support staff, and other leaders are skilled in the selection and effective use of instructional technologies, we can draw upon our collaborative communities to impact student learning in significant ways.1&2

In this case, planning, teaching, and assessment all center on the needs and abilities of the students. Through Otus, educators can refocus lessons and learning by modifying the content, process, and products in the classroom.

Similarly, when we work together for student learning, we can create guaranteed and viable curriculum and use data to reach all students.1 SMART goals driven by real-time data inform our insight into personal learning and growth and contribute to refocused teaching and learning with educational technology tools. Refocused learning provides schools with more time to:

  • Establish time for educators to collaborate weekly.
  • Bring best practices to their classrooms.
  • Identify essential outcomes for students.
  • Co-create and implement common assessments and instructional resources to compliment students and their SMART goals.
  • Co-design interventions and instructional strategies to address learner needs as determined by their common assessments.1

Nevertheless, iterating the use of data to inform student progress toward learning goals and success can refocus our instruction to reach students who are most in need. By reaching students who are most in need, we can work together as a professional learning community and assess student learning more frequently and in a wider variety of ways.4


1. Cassandra Erkens et al., The Collaborative Teacher: Working Together as a Professional Learning Community (Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2008).
2. Jo Williamson, Effective Digital Learning Environments: Your Guide to the ISTE Standards For Coaches (Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 2015).
3. Peggy Grant and Dale Basye, Personalized Learning: A Guide for Engaging Students with Technology (Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 2014), and Williamson, Effective Digital Learning Environments.
4. Ellen Galinsky, “Learning Communities: An Emerging Phenomenon,” YC Young Children 67, no. 1 (2012): 20-27

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