If there is a teacher in a school who knows what they are doing, we can use prep times to be in their rooms and learn from them as they use the technology. Both can get professional development hours for this. We started off in the field as simple observers in our fieldwork classes, and it is still a wonderful method of learning as we attempt to keep up with the latest innovations in education. Here is a district goal outlined by Alan November, senior partner at Educational Renaissance Planners in Evanston, Illinois:
- Develop a technology budget, earmarking funding not only to acquire technology and design the infrastructure but also to ensure successful plan implementation by means of professional development for school staff and adherence to rules of thumb for professional development. Include funding for a technology specialist to provide ongoing support and feedback to staff.
Since this is the job I am performing right now, Technology Integrationist, I am more aware than ever of the lack of technology education our teachers have. The little things like saving to a jump drive and printing in greyscale are big dilemmas to teachers who are now expected to provide interactive lessons using Smart boards. I only hope that we move away from the drive-by trainings that don't provide the ongoing assistance teachers really need. Only some of the teachers are comfortable with screencasts and webinars, a huge population of teachers need hands-on training that can be repeated as they need it. As I try to squeeze such trainings into lunch periods and preps, I get frustrated. I feel like every other teacher feels when their students are just about to complete an objective and the bell rings. I will be pushing for some substitute coverage so I can get more time with individual teachers. Luckily I work in districts that have technology-rich goals, so I may actually get somewhere.