I'm new here so I apologize if this topic has been covered but I am trying to find best practices/ scientifically research based articles pertainig to the best way to sustain professional development with the ever changing technology. Too often a one day training on a particular technology/web 2.0 tool that has no follow up does little to promote classroom use of the tool/technology. Often times teachers are excited at first but then run into "glitches" so they give up on the new tool. Tech Tuesdays have not been successful in my district as many classroom teachers are just too stressed and need their lunch time and/or after school time to keep up with the daily "grind". What are some models or frameworks that are successful with encouraging and maintaining professional development? Mandating teachers to use technology obviously rarely works so how do you get staff on board and continue the enthusiasm for a particular gadget/tool/technology?? Any suggestions or link to particular resources would be appreciated. Thank you!
Precisely the difficulty I have encountered. I can usually sell a great new tool to at least a brave teacher or two, but once the training and adoption phase kicks there is a massive drop-off.
My new process has worked in a few areas that had previously been total failures:
Consider the training/pre-production/production/deployment in terms of what has to be front-loaded to make it work vs. what elements are necessary to make it function in the classroom. Then, for your first-timers, do all the production and front-loaded work for them, only relying on them to actually employ the tool in the classroom. If this is a brand-new tool you may want to then evaluate whether the payoff was worth the work. If it is, then you start phasing in the teacher on the production stages with a goal of getting them to be as proficient and seamless with it as they are in Word or some other well-entrenched system. Remind them that they were new to all tools like this at one point.
For example, when we switched to Google Apps I thought "sweet, now we can all make websites so we'll have a new era of teachers doing all this great stuff on the web. We'll have resources available like never before and this will revolutionize our whole approach to everything. It's so easy (my ten year old can use it with great facility) that there's nothing stopping them. I will barely have to train them on anything and we'll have this massive collection of fantastic content in no time."
Two years later.... no good websites. Maybe a couple tries, but lame results with very little follow-through.
Finally I decided to pitch them again but with the added bonus that I would build the entire thing for them. For starters I'll take all their digital content and get everything up there with a very clear menu hierarchy that requires me to build every single page, make tons of graphics, pore over word docs, powerpoints, movies, doing tons of conversions and re-formatting.
Now I had some response. And I did a ton of work for them. They look great. Everyone's happy. More on the way.
But the sites are already getting stale. I said I would not be responsible for updating and maintenance. We'll see where it goes from here.
Mary, we share similar interests in finding innovative ways to sustain professional development. I'd be interested in discussing this with you and others in a Google+ Hangout sometime. I've created a website that I will eventually use as part of my doctoral research, looking into promoting PLNs and professional learning which addresses the problem you allude to.
The reason I posted is I am part of a Technology Task Force made up of teachers, tech satff, and community members. One of our topics of discussion is with an ever changing environment and staff how do we even approach a sustainable professional development model? I've done a little research which suggests PLNs, wikis, social networks, etc but we often have trouble getting staff to "buy into" new ways of doing things. We realize the one day a year Technology Day with no follow up is not the answer. Teachers who already feel overworked don't want to go home and spend more time on their mobile devices or laptops to enhance their technology skills. I think there has to be a happy medium with how PD is addressed but don't want to "recreate the wheel" especially if some districts are having success. Just need to find direction from a district willing to share:) I look forward exploring your website. Thanks for replying!
Thanks for posting Benjamin. I will be interested in the replies you get, as I believe this is a challenge we all face.