I recently sat for an hour at a middle school and listened to teachers (from that middle school and some from the Arts) share how they had and/or plan to implement what they learned from technology trainings this year. Everybody in the room was able to talk about at least two ways (most went far beyond that) he or she used something learned in technology trainings this year. It made me smile to hear teachers share ideas and see other teachers get ideas. I sat quietly and took notes. I got lots of ideas, and I am not even in a classroom anymore. As I listened, I heard teachers say things that made me think of other things I could share with them to make those projects or presentations even better. I was using notebook paper to take notes (I know I should have been using a wiki page or something). Every time I would think of another technology tool or program that I wanted to share with that teacher, I would write it down and draw a box around it. So now I have 2 pages of notes and boxes to go back through, but that is OK. When I got an idea, I would tell the teacher that I had more information that I could share with them on another option they might want to explore. Towards the end of the session, one teacher asked if I would send that whole list of things I wanted to share to everybody in the room. I smiled and said that I would. I am sorry that this is my last meeting with the group since I now have so many more ideas of things to share. Here is a link to some of the resources (EduGlogster, Medi 2.0, and SlidRocket) I shared with these teachers (good resources for teachers of any level not just middle school): http://mwedwardstechnology.blogspot.com/2010/04/some-resources-i-shared.html
The group that I met with that day had been involved in somewhat of a year-long-technology-training program focusing on the needs and interests of the teachers and administration (they did not start until several months into the year). Training the same people each month with the same expectations developed some consistency. I know that as a classroom teacher, the technology trainings I remember were not really connected to each other. One training did not build upon or refer back to a previous training. The trainings many times were done by different people, so there was not really a relationship developed. Doing trainings on a regular basis with the same people (not having a large group helps too) allows the presenter and the participants to develop and continue a "learning conversation" that works to benefit all involved. In a way, it seems to work like the teaching idea of "scaffolding" in the way the trainer is able to provide background knowledge and understanding one time that is needed for the next time. As the trainer (or presenter), I know what I shared before that I can use to build on for what I am sharing that is new. I can try to help make those connections to improve the learning for the teachers so they can help the students.
Before I started my new job almost 2 months ago, I was a participant in year-long-technology-trainings at an elementary school. I have now become the trainer/presenter at some of these year-long projects at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Being a part of these trainings from both sides really helped me realize the potential benefits.