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Are current practices in professional development for technology and Web 2.0 effective in encouraging teachers to integrate technology into their practice?


Why Not?

Let’s get one thing clear before we even begin: PD is an important aspect of getting teachers to integrate technology. But let’s be honest, the current practices in PD for tech integration are ineffective. Often the professional development workshops are out of date, presenting software and techniques that are quickly becoming obsolete. Why is this? Because in most schools teachers teach teachers and there are no “experts” on newer more up to date technology applications and tools, and no money to bring those experts in to the schools.

Learn More about Out of Date PD

Also there is a severe lack of time for teacher’s professional development and thus sessions tend to be isolated events and then teachers are expected to figure the rest out on their own. Sessions tend to focus either on too many tools, called “awareness” professional development, or focus on "how to" work the tool or software. Often no follow up is provided and so there is no time to discuss how to APPLY what they are learning. No time is given to simply “play around” with new technology so that teachers feel comfortable using it with students, and no time is given to plan how to introduce the technology to students or to think about how it may apply to a particular curriculum area.

Learn More about Lack of Time to Play and Plan

All too often professional development sessions on technology are presented in a computer lab situation where teachers learn individually and so there is no opportunity to share, reflect or collaborate on ideas for integration. These sessions also assume that all the teachers attending have the same prior knowledge and understanding of technology and thus are ready to learn the tool or skill being presented. We know from experience that’s just not the case. A teaching staff can be just as varied in their knowledge and competency in technology as your classroom of grade 7 students that has 4 students on AEPs, 3 students who have been flagged for possible reading comprehension problems and 6 students who are either ADD, ADHD or ODD!

Learn More about Lack of Collaboration in PD

Learn More about Lack of Differentiated PD

Would we ask our students to learn a new skill, in isolation, in one hour and then ask them to apply that skill in a performance based assessment situation? Then why do we force our teachers to essentially do the same thing? We value collaborative learning among our students why not with our teachers? We understand that time is needed for students to learn a new concept, so why do we rush our teachers? We are constantly trying to focus on the application of our curriculum to the students’ real world, so why don’t we spend time with our teachers doing the same thing with regards to the technology they are learning about? We spend hours trying to differentiate our lesson for all learners, providing options for projects, flexible deadlines and individualized instruction where needed. So why do we expect that ALL teachers should be at the same place with regard to their technology knowledge and integration?

We do not practice what we preach/teach when it comes to teacher PD!

Learn More about How We Can Make it Better