Ken Pruitt, a technology integration specialist in a Pennsylvania district, is trying to figure out how to provide relevant, meaningful technology training for his teachers.
Something that many of us are trying to do.
To gather data for his action research project, Ken is asking these three questions of the larger community.
1. What are the 21st century skills we want our teachers to model?
2. How can we provide consistent and relevant training to 200 teachers?
3. Will adequate resources encourage teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum?
Certainly a good starting point, for teachers as well as students, is outlined in the new ISTE NETS standards.
They need to be able to find, organize, evaluate, analyze, and use information in many forms to solve different problems. They must be able to use a variety of tools to communicate effectively.
Teachers must actually use these skills throughout their professional practice since we know that modeling them is a far more effective way to teach them to their students than is direct instruction.
As to question 3, what are “adequate resources”? Adequate would depend on many factors, not the least of which is the amount and quality of training the teacher has received.
It also depends on how open the teacher is to changing their instructional practice to match the power of the tools they have available.
We have many classrooms in our district with what some would consider more than adequate technology but where the teacher makes minimal use of the resources.
“If you build it and they will come” doesn’t work in this case.
Instead of installing the same technology for everyone at the same time, I’m a big advocate of providing it as the teacher progresses in their ability and willingness to incorporate the tools into their instruction.
And that brings us to question 2. We do too much one-shot staff development, and not just in terms of technology training.
Teachers know that kids often need some degree of repetition and follow up to learn any subject. The same is true of adults, but that is a huge missing piece from most training we provide teachers.
Doing that for 200 will be a challenge for Ken. In our overly-large district we need to do it for 16,000.
However, the content and needs don’t change. They just get bigger.
[Thanks to Scott for the link]