Dr. Laura Sawyer is highly specialized in the field of professional learning, with a focus on classroom integration of instructional technologies. She began her career in education 20 years ago in, spending many years in middle and high school science classrooms. During this time, Laura was a teacher leader, pursuing and obtaining National Board Teacher Certification, Clinical Educator Supervision with Polk County Schools, and a Master’s in Educational Media and Design Technology. These activities opened opportunities to mentor new and pre-service intern teachers. She designed and facilitated various staff development initiatives from creating classroom websites, to using technology to increase engagement and gather in the moment data to inform instruction, to creating a faculty blog, Technaughtlogy, as a way to introduce new technologies to the staff.
For the last five years, she has been a district-level leader as a Teacher Resource Specialist Trainer within Polk County Schools’ Instructional Technology (InTec) department. In this position, she has worked with district leaders and departments, school administrators, and teachers on effective strategies to integrate various technologies throughout the district. She has worked closely with Apple, Microsoft, SMART, and other industry product leaders to bring new and innovative learning experiences to the classroom. She earned her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, creating a teacher learning center, Cafe Engage, as a product of this program and which has hosted learning opportunities for teachers, network managers, administrators, local leaders, and most recently, the education department of Polk State College. For more information, see the linked Café Engage presentation with pictures and quotes from participants.
Dr. Sawyer has been the project lead for two iPad 1:1 programs in Polk County Schools. The Model Instructional Classroom was started four years ago with 20 classrooms and tripled to 60 in three years. In the third year, a new program of 82 classrooms was added, the SciPad Program, that focused on Science and STEM classroom. In both programs, a deep emphasis on teacher professional development was established as the cornerstone to support teacher integration of technology, as well as a strong collaboration with the Teaching and Learning department. Multiple workshops were developed, including iPad Bootcamp, Creative Student Products, and Deeper Engagement with iPads. Currently in development for this year are workshops for STEM teachers, Hands-on Labs with iPads, 5E and Inquiry with Technology, and Creative Learning Tasks. Please see the LearnIntec site to see the agenda and resources for iPad Bootcamp.
Dr. Sawyer has shared her experience at several conferences. In May 2016, she presented Cafe Engage as part of a panel on unconventional professional development opportunities at the Florida Association of Staff Developers (FASD). She was also a presenter at the KDP International 2017 Convo, sharing strategic technology integration solutions using the Technology Integration Matrix in Tim Time. She is currently working on sharing her iPad implementation experiences through a professional learning consortium in central Florida and developing several articles/conference presentations on iPad implementations, Strategies for technology-infused learning, Technology strategies to engage adult learners, and Teacher support for technology implementations.
Dr. Sawyer truly loves what she does, and the opportunities to affect classroom practice at many levels. As always, practice must be grounded in research. The following is Laura’s research and Doctoral Dissertation (April 2017): Perceptions and Practice: The relationship between teacher perceptions of technology use and level of classroom technology integration