Monday, September 28, 2015
While every district appears to be rolling out technology resources and devices in their own, unique way, one staple / constant remains: Professional Development needs to be rebooted.
Teachers and other staff members need to be provided quick, ready-to-use staff development opportunities. I remember when the read / write web emerged and we wanted to get up there and show teachers everything - and we usually lost them in the process. After the professional development opportunities I have exposed myself to, I strongly feel that the very best are those where hands-on, real-classroom examples are used.
Some elements in the CTA article sadden me, but don't really surprise me. A CTA survey asked "Does your staff offer quality professional development for staff to become tech savvy?" A member from Chatom Union answered, "The district probably thinks so, but the reality is NO. I was given a cart with 36 ASUS T100 tablets at the end of last year and no training and expected to begin using them.. Luckily I am fairly tech-savvy." This seems to be a trend. I worked with a former assistant superintendent who called me in one day and said, "I want you to order 2,000 tablets - one for every freshman in the district." I politely said, "Can we discuss this? What is our end goal in providing this resource to students, what is our roll-out plan, and how can we provide meaningful professional development so they are used effectively in instruction?" I also said, "Where is the data that suggests this is a demand? Is our infrastructure ready?" Note: This was before our district migrated to Google Apps for Education.
Looking back and looking ahead.... while I enjoyed the CTA article, the same theme pattern exists - districts are STILL separating technology from instruction. Let's look at our school and district goals, plan our professional development, and incorporate the technology resources we have available as we roll out the professional development. Technology cannot be viewed as stand-alone or "the other thing you can do."