Without meaningful professional development, there are very few instances where teachers pick up on new technology themselves and become adept at using it in the classroom. If technical areas are purchased without a clear and concise plan on how to integrate them into the educational model, the devices in their boxes will remain unused.
The continuous development plan that teachers want to have
Schools should not stop investing in technology just because students are back in the classroom. Instead, they should expand their expansion of technology and support students’ and families’ understanding of its impact. Hardware, platform applications, and other solutions acquired for distance learning will continue to benefit students personally.
Fortunately, there are many avenues in which educators can receive training on new technology investments in their areas. For example, many sellers offer PD; CDW•G has partnered with these vendors and provides additional guidance through our team of educational strategists.
These professionals can help regions across the country with implementation plans and technology integration, and with their diverse backgrounds, they bring different perspectives into the conversation. An educational strategist who previously served as a district administrator will look at implementation from the point of view of school improvement and academic recovery. A former CIO might have a better perspective on how the technology works in the back end as well as the front end experience for users.
Learn more: Technological transformation has a far-reaching impact for users from kindergarten through secondary education.
Timing and location are key considerations for CPD. In-person PD offers the advantage of limited distractions, while they don’t often do so online.
However, PD in person is not always possible. So, when possible, make sure your online PD is brief. Educators don’t want to sit in a lot of fluff. They want content, some real-world examples and maybe time to talk about it with their peers.
It is also important to follow any PD technology ED. Watching how teachers use technology allows for feedback and helps create an overall better learning experience for students.
How to increase participation in continuous PD
Perhaps the best way to encourage participation in any new educational technology is to obtain approval from building managers. They must be practical and helpful when it comes to new technology and the training needed for implementation. This encourages teachers to learn and adopt the tools faster and easier.
For an IT leader from K-12, one of the best ways to get support from principals and their deputies is to link technology to their academic improvement plans, talk about how it will benefit students, and explain how it can support step-by-step interventions and differentiated instruction.
Even with supervisor approval, most teachers do not have time during the planning period or after school to sit during PD. Instead, a specific time should be devoted to professional development. New York City, for example, has a built-in professional development time on Mondays. Many similarly large areas have devoted time to PD.
Continuing education credits provide another incentive for educators to attend PD, and are especially useful for those doing rehabilitation, saving them time and showing them their appreciation.
As ed tech continues to evolve, professional development must expand with it. Without professional development, administrators and educators will not have the skills to make the most of the area’s technology investments.
This article is part ofConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and TechnologySeries. Please join the discussion on Twitter using #ConnectIT Hashtag Association.