Over the years, reports have been made about the importance of technology integration professional development for teachers. Figures have been given as to the percentage of money that should be allocated for PD based on dollars spent for technology equipment. But what IS the proper amount of development to ensure students are utilizing technology in their classrooms? Whatever it is, will it ever be enough? Is it really about quantity? More discussion should focus on the quality of PD.
My belief is that there should be three main components for successful tech integration PD.
1. PD should be based on practical classroom integration for students. The days of coming to a class to learn what to click and how to perform operations are over. The “tech literacy” skills should be woven into the integration development that is occurring. Instead of a “How to in Word” we should be offering courses that are based in curriculum that utilize technology to enhance student learning.
2. Follow up is mandatory. Many times development is a “one shot” mission. Rarely do developers return to see the fruits of their labor. A series of follow up sessions should occur to check for understanding and application. These follow up sessions might only be a few minutes each, but they play an important part of moving teachers forward.
3. Teacher accountability is another key component. Sometimes teachers attend a PD session and expect to get a “magic bullet” that will make things automatically integrate with students for a minimal effort. After a PD session, teachers need to take the initiative to actively embed their new learning into their practice. There is no magic bullet and there is no substitute for taking the initiative to apply new skills to one’s profession.
When planning and executing tech integration PD, make it count. With the way funding is going these days, you may not get many chances to make an impact.