Current practices in professional development for technology integration do not take into consideration that not all teachers are at the same place on their learning path with regards to technology.


We know from this topic’s readings (One Size Doesn’t Fit All Parts 1-4 for example) that not all teachers are necessarily at the same place when it comes to their knowledge of and skills with technology and this can greatly affect their level of confidence with integrating technology into their teaching. Have you ever experienced PD providers going the extra mile to differentiate? Do they have time to? Do we specifically target creative arts teachers (or woods, or gym or science?) to provide subject specific PD? Most schools don’t have the PD funds or the PD time or the available “experts” to do this, so I would suspect it’s not happening at the school level. In my experience it does happen occasionally at the divisional level, but just occasionally (remember that Excel PD specifically for Math teachers 5 years ago?).

Tim Wilson the author of Technosavvy says:

“I’ve consistently said since I started my current job nearly two years ago that the era of one-size-fits-all professional development needs to end. It may have been appropriate to put 25 teachers in a computer lab for a training program in the early days when none of them had much educational technology experience, but that certainly isn’t the case anymore. Let’s take a theoretical example of a training session with those 25 teachers with the goal to teach them how to manage digital pictures with iPhoto. Of those 25, one-third will never has used iPhoto or a maybe even a digital camera, one-third will have enough experience with the tools to recognize that they would like to learn more, and one-third will be experienced digital photographers who have 2,000 photos in their iPhoto library and could probably teach the class. No matter what group you target in the training, two-thirds of the group will go home frustrated because it went over their heads or bored because it was too basic. From http://technosavvy.org/2005/07/11/training-just-in-time/ retrieved March 17, 2009.
He also says:

Simply put, here are the stages of tech integration for teachers:
  1. Teachers learn to use technology for non-work purposes. (Grandchildren are a great motivation to learn about digital photography and video.)
  2. Teachers adapt technology for their professional practice.
  3. Teachers identify ways to use technology with their students and integrate it into their curriculum.
It’s pretty easy to skip stage #1 for many teachers, but it’s a rare person indeed who can cut to the chase and go right for #3. It’s useful to remember when making professional development plans. From http://technosavvy.org/2006/02/21/old-lesson-relearned/ Retreived March 17, 2009.
And this:
“I’ll bet the teaching staff at your school is pretty much like our’s. There are a few teachers who really get technology and how to use it in their daily instructional practice, a few others who will never use technology no matter how hard people like me try, and a large group in the middle who would use technology if they could, but don’t feel confident in their ability to create technology-rich lessons from scratch. We need a way for the first group to share their expertise with that interested, but inexperienced, third group. From http://technosavvy.org/2004/12/16/seeking-a-lesson-sharing-tool/ retrieved March 17, 2009.

These are just a few more arguments to support the idea that current PD practices don’t differentiate for the needs and various situations of all teachers.

Since I cannot just present a counterpoint and because I feel the need to provide a venue for brainstorming ideas for changing current practices I ask you this:
How do we make it better?