Chapter 5 Professional Development

Teachers are expected and in many cases required to integrate technology into their teaching methodology. Because of this, districts are working to development more effective vehicles for delivering professional growth opportunities for their teaching staff. However, even with the pressure of high expectations, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and huge amounts of money allocated to training, studies have shown that the expected integration of technology in the classroom has not occurred.
The next section of this chapter discusses the ineffectiveness of traditional in-service workshop programs in preparing teachers to implement technology in their teaching. Problems such as lack of funding for follow-up with teachers after the workshops, outsiders doing the presentations and then leaving without continued support, new technological tools becoming available without effective training are discussed.Creating Effective Programs“When working with adults, you will want to meet them where they are” (p, 102) Five steps are presented from Evaluating Professional Development by Thomas Guskey.Preservice Learning

Even with increased professional development offered by colleges and universities to teach candidates the authors suggest that most teachers still feel uncomfortable integrating technology in their teaching. They suggest that the answer might be to “incorporate communities of practice into educators; daily routine and lives”. (p.103)

Communities of Practice

“Theories of learning has gradually moved fro m the individual as learner to learning as participation in the social world.” (p.103) The authors suggest that Web 2.0 tools will engage educators in authentic use so they better understand and become comfortable with them for themselves. They can they focus on using them in their classrooms. Suggestions for developing communities of practice are given by Susan Taylor in an article. (p.105)

      • Establish regular times for team interaction
      • Send agendas to participants beforehand
      • Designate a team librarian
      • Build and maintain a team archive
      • Use visual forms of communication where possible
      • Set formal rules for communication and/or technology use

The authors add, “continued energy to maintain participation and enthusiasm from members is required.” (p.105) Tips for maintaining and encouraging participation are shown on page 105-106. Recommendations for developing extended social networks for teaching and learning are give by Christine Greenhow in a Web 2.0 sidebar on pages 107-110. Briefly, these recommendations are: 1) Help teachers uncover and make transparent their notions of the classroom community, and 2) Develop alternative forms of teacher professional development that embed the social-networking tools we want teachers to consider.

Technology Literacy Training

The key to assisting educators in developing basic competency in using technology lies with administrators. They must agree that the use of technology is a fundamental goal and involve the teachers in developing goals. There are many different approaches in teacher preparation but the most successful strategy is to “use the technology to learn how to use the technology”.(p.111) That is the way learning communities can be developed as they become comfortable using blogs, wikis, podcasting and other social networking tools.

Professional Development and Web 2.0 Tools

This section discusses at length the how Blogging, Podcasting, and Wikis can be used to design learning communities. Several examples of each tool are discussed and links given to lesson plans resources and opportunities for learning.

The authors recognize that encouraging educators and schools to use the new Web 2.0 tools is complicated and challenging. By getting teachers involved in using the tools in a meaningful and authentic way allows them the practice needed to increase their comfortable level with technology.

Links to check out

"Professional Development." Web 2.0: new tools, new schools. Washington, DC: ISTE, 2007. 99-116.