Monday, September 01, 2008

Professional Development Series

Over the summer I was tasked to run a summer professional development program relating to technology for our staff (around 20 of our high school teachers took part). We are going to continue the professional development with the teachers from the summer class during the the school year having programs that last both semesters.

Every week the high school has time set aside for meetings. Some weeks we have no regularly scheduled meetings. The original plan was to use some of these "free" meeting times for continuing the PD. The focus for the fall semester was to be Google Apps. It was decided that we should focus on only one of the things I'd showed this summer in order to help the staff drill down deeper.

That was then. Now things look a bit different. There are at least 5 more teachers who want to join the cohort of teachers who went through the summer program. Three teachers have already set up Ning sites for their classes and plan on using them extensively this year. These teachers will probably not really want to also add a bunch of Google Apps stuff in on top of Ning.

So, this leads to a new plan. I never really wanted to make the choice for the teachers about which tool they should use with their classes. I'm not best qualified to determine what "best practices" looks like in different content areas. So, here's my new plan:
  1. Identify groups of teachers who want to focus on the same technologies and get them into groups. (the Ning group has already been forming independently)
  2. Some of our face to face meetings will break-up into these smaller groups to discuss what works, what doesn't, and some how-to type instruction. I need to help them realize they can learn more form each other than they can learn from me.
  3. Some of our face to face meetings will focus on pedagogy. We need to begin thinking about being better teachers, using the best tools and not simply think about shoehorning in technology.
  4. I still think I need to help them find ways of using these technologies in their own lives.
By not focusing on a single "technology" I'll probably be creating more work for myself, but that's ok.

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