Technology is here to stay and the emphasis is now how do we ensure that technology is effectively used. Used in a way that creates new opportunities for learning and promotes student achievement. But how do we, as educators, get there? How do we change teacher behavior thus increasing student achievement? Providing effective professional development on instructional technology is key. In doing so, the outcome is successful and useful integration of technology into the classroom.
Professional development for technology use should be an integral part of the school technology plan or an overall school improvement plan, not just an add-on. Initial inclusion in the technology plan ensures that professional development is considered an essential factor in using technology to improve teaching and learning. This initial inclusion begins with system-wide administrative and leadership support. Without it, technology integration will be another dust collector on the shelf. Educators need to see and believe in the connection of technology integration to the rise of student learning. Providing hands-on technology use is imperative if the educator is to buy into the process of integration. Quality staff development allows the educator time to learn, practice , implement, continually reevaluate the new skills.
Effective technology staff development should be focused on teaching and learning first, then technology second. A variety of learning experiences that are presented with curriculum-specific applications will show teachers the correlation between using technology and truly integration it into the lessons for the day. Teachers need to understand that technology is not to understand that technology is not to replace the current curriculum but to use with the curriculum to enhance the learning experience.