Sunday, February 26, 2012

Goals for Improving Technology Professional Development

As I reflect on the goals that I have established for improving technology at Pleasant Plains School District, I have found that there are five goals that require continuous attention. The full size view of each chart may be seen by clicking on the respective chart.

Teacher professional development training in the teacher leadership models 

Encourage teachers to take ownership in their own professional development and to share ideas with their colleagues  

Teacher professional development training in the tools available in the Edline hosted district website 

Student and parent technology training, including training on the Edline hosted district website as well as any communication tools that the district utilizes.

Ongoing technology integration professional development for teachers. This model would be used for any technology tool that teachers would like to integrate into their lessons to improve student learning and understanding.
As noted, each goal is based on a cycle of training, evaluation, reflection, and needs. Both student/parent training and teacher professional development tend to occur based on immediate need. There is often little or no evaluation, reflection, or needs assessment completed to determine further needs. Education tends to be flooded with reforms that require administrators to hold professional development workshops on changes in legislation or in standards. Therefore, it is important to follow the process which includes a preliminary needs assessment; multiple learning venues for the learners; a method of evaluating not only what was learned, but also the effectiveness of the training; reflection on the training by both the trainer and the participant to make necessary adjustments to be successful; and a needs assessment that will drive the content of the next training sessions. If any of the steps are missing, training will continue to follow the course it currently has been following, a system based on immediate needs and not on long term improvement.

The area that I need to focus on the most is the importance of the cycle for each of the training goals. I, like most educators, tend to get caught up in the training - the immediate needs. I do typically make it through an abbreviated evaluation process and a personal reflection phase of any training that I have led, but tend to bypass the evaluation process of the entire training and fall short of a needs assessment that will lead to a reboot of the cycle. As I move forward with the training goals for the district, I need to ensure that the administrators are on board with the cycle as well as the teacher leaders leading the training.