Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Extreme Makeover on Professional Development

Our Instructional Technology group has offered training for years on the different applications used in education. Recently, we began looking at how we do business and evaluating our effectiveness. A few weeks ago, I assigned 2 articles (part 1/part 2) from Learning and Leading with Technology titled "One Size Doesn't Fit All" by Judi Harris. Here is a synoposis of the article:

Characteristics of Effective Professional Staff Development:

  • Is conducted in school settings
  • Is linked to school-wide efforts
  • Is concrete
  • Is planned and offered by teachers
  • Is differentiated according to teachers’ differing needs and interests
  • Addresses goals and contains learning activities that are chosen by teachers
  • Emphasizes demonstrations, trials of new tools and techniques, and opportunities for participants to both receive and give feedback
  • Is ongoing over time
  • Provides ongoing assistance and support on-call

It is important to:

  • Know your teacher-students’ professional learning needs and preferences
  • Know the contextual realities of the school/district in which you are working, and push assumed boundaries when possible
  • Know the full range of educational technology professional development goal possibilities
  • Know the full range of educational technology professional development models
  • Select, combine, and sequence goals, models, and methods to fit the realities of the teachers’ learning needs, preferences, and working contexts
  • Continually reassess #1-5, redesigning as things change over time

Educational Technology Professional Development Goals:

  • Awareness and/or trial of specific tools or resources
  • Curriculum integration in specific content areas
  • Change in instructional practice, focusing on specific techniques
  • Curriculum and/or instructional reform
  • School organizational or cultural change
  • Social change beyond the school

Educational Technology Professional Development Models:

Instructor-organized sessions

  • Demonstration or awareness sessions
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Large-group interaction sessions
  • Small-group interaction sessions
  • Large-group problem-solving sessions
  • Small-group problem-solving sessions

Individualized learning

  • Unassisted independent exploration
  • Assisted independent exploration
  • Individualized learning plan
  • Prescribed and managed instruction

Collaborative learning

  • Classroom visits
  • Online spaces

Data-based inquiry

Development of materials and approaches

We are now planning to renovate and rejuvenate our professional development model to incorporate ALL types of training. Stay tuned for what's to come!

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