Technology and Professional Development

For our EDTC 6106 module 5 I am going to be focusing on ISTE Coaching Standard 4: Professional Development and Program Evaluation: 

Performance Indicator B: Design, develop, and implement technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment.

When thinking of technology professional development there may be barriers such as access to technology, heavy work loads with emphasis on new professional learning or administrative tasks, classroom management, school culture, insufficient time to implement required curriculum, unclear vision or plan, lack of administrative and/or technical support, or lack of correlation with academic content. The journey when thinking about technology PD may not be a straight line however, there are some factors and strategies that can streamline it. For this module I am going to investigate, What does the ideal technology rich professional learning program look like? 

Time and Collaboration:

One of the first things you may think of when planning or receiving professional development around technology is time. Research solidifies that time is a critical component to technology PD and is needed to obtain, research and explore new skills. (Corey, 2019). In addition, providing time for collaborative work is essential for successful implementation of technology (Billig, Sherry, & Havelock, 2005). 

Much other research has shown that opportunities which allow teachers time to work and learn together develops high-quality teaching and teachers which positively benefits students and improves learning outcomes (Kraft & Papay, 2014; Louis, Kruse, & Marks, 1996; Rosenholtz, 1989). Therefore, organizing and structuring time for teachers to engage in collaboration and professional development around technology is crucial to our teachers and our students. 

The Comparative Use of Teacher Time Study done by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education studied four U.S. schools that organize and structure their time in ways that support and encourage teachers to collaborate “in efforts to enrich teaching and learning”. The study was “designed to help both practitioners and policymakers understand the teaching and learning implications of structuring time differently in schools”. It’s findings suggest:

Prioritize Collaboration:

Allow time during the school day for teachers to work and learn from each other.

Focus on Student Learning and Development:

The master schedules should be built around the whole child and what works best for “the teachers to help each other do what would work best for students” (p 3). Additionally, clear goals and shared pedagogical approaches should be used to design the master schedule.  

Coherent Shared Philosophy:

A shared understanding of “why” and “what” the unique or non-traditional structures of collaboration time look like is an important commitment to establish and uphold. 

Shared Governance:

Structures that encourage and allow teachers to share-in and make critical decisions about the school leads to a more collaborative culture. 

Continual Learning:

Developing a growth mindset about collaboration times, the schedule, school structures and organizations is important to establish. Many of the schools in the study had taken years to produce and are continually revised to meet the needs of teachers and students. 

Professional Capacity:

In addition to daily collaboration time allocating weekly time in the master schedule for whole school professional development facilitates learning and sets expectations for collaboration, continued learning and high-quality instructional practice. 

Multiple Roles for Teachers:

Creating flexibility of teacher roles enables the school to provide meaningful collaboration time while using the same fiscal resources and personnel as the other schools in their districts.

District Support:

District support in terms of additional resources to “kick-start” efforts, allowing operational flexibility and permission to make budgetary and staffing decisions based on the goals of the staff and students enables the time for collaboration. 

Participation in Networks: 

Each of the schools benefited from participation in networks of “like-minded schools and educators”. 

What this all told me about time is that time for exploring, researching, learning, and collaboration are greatly impacted by administrative vision, support and structures. So while adequate and meaningful time is a factor that streamlines technology professional learning, it is also interconnected with leadership and vision. “As teachers are the gatekeepers to the classroom, administrators need to build a collaborative partnership between principals, administrators, and teachers to promote educational change” (Gerger, 2014).  

Meeting Technical and Teacher Needs:

Another factor that streamlines technology professional development is access to reliable devices, equipment, wifi, and required resources. While you can develop collaboration capacities for teams to solve challenges around access; ultimately if access is limited or not dependable it presents hardships for teacher and students impacting the role technology professional development plays in the classroom (Corey, 2019; Morgan and Killion, 2018). 

Additionally, ensuring that the products and services are able to meet a variety of teacher needs. Access to an expert who is located or can come to a school building in a timely manner can support technology integration by supporting the needs of teachers and troubleshooting when technical challenges arise (Corey, 2019; Morgan and Killion, 2018). In addition, they may build partnerships with technology vendors who can guide and facilitate implementation (Morgan and Killion, 2018). 

Methods of Professional Development:

Successful professional development includes training, skill development, and hands-on opportunity which allow for real-life experiences to generate (Gerger, 2014). Similarly technology professional development should build capacity through hands on training, and provide opportunities to research and apply understandings to content areas. Additionally, it should be ongoing, collaborative, and build motivation through engagement in decision making (Morgan and Killion, 2018). 

Options for Profession Development

While professional development options vary ISTE’s Education Leaders Standards offer a framework when thinking about how to plan for professional development around technology. Their standards for educators, coaches, and students also offer a foundation which may ground professional development.  Additionally, much research has been done regarding the importance and benefit of effective professional development. Three researched based principles from Achieve the Core outline important aspects for high quality standards aligned professional learning:

Principle 1: Professional learning must be content-focused. Professional learning builds teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge necessary to teach the concepts of their discipline.
Principle 2: Professional learning must be teacher- and student-centered. Professional learning promotes collective responsibility for students’ learning and cultivates a dynamic culture for adult learning.
Principle 3: Professional learning must be instructionally relevant and actionable. Professional learning is anchored in the instructional priorities of teachers’ daily work and is sustained in a coherent system of collaborative planning, classroom practice, observation, feedback, and continuous cycles of inquiry grounded in evidence of student learning. 

References:

Corey, L. (2019). A Case Study of iPad Implementation in One Rural Elementary School. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 48(2), 305–316. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.spu.edu/10.1177/0047239519862999 

Gerger, K. (2014). 1:1 Tablet technology implementation in the Manhattan Beach Unified School District: A case study (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Publishing: http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/pubnum/3647116.html

Kraft, M. A., & Papay, J. P. (2014). Can professional environments in schools promote teacher development? Explaining heterogeneity in returns in teaching experience. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 36(4), 476-500.

Learning Designs Go Beyond Workshops. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://learningforward.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/learning-designs-go-beyond-workshops.pdf

Louis, K. S., Kruse, S., & Marks, H. M. (1996). Schoolwide professional community. In F. M. Newmann (Ed.), Authentic achievement: Restructuring schools for intellectual quality (pp. 179-204). San Francisco, CA: JosseyBass. 

Morgan, N., Killion, J., & Learning Forward. (2018). Beyond Barriers: Encouraging Teacher Use of Feedback Resources. A Report from the Teacher Feedback Resources Project. In Learning Forward. Learning Forward. https://learningforward-org.ezproxy.spu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/beyond-barriers.pdf 

Principles for High-Quality, Standards-Aligned Professional Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://achievethecore.org/content/upload/Principles for High-Quality, Standards-Aligned, Professional Learning.pdf

Rosenholtz, S. J. (1989). Teachers’ workplace: The social organization of schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Snyder, J. and Bae, S. (2017). “The Kids Benefit From It, So It’s Worth It”: Time for Teaching and Learning at SMASH. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. From https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Teachers%27%20Time%20Cross%20Case%20Final.pdf

Snyder, J., & Bae, S. (2017). Teachers’ Time: Collaborating for Learning, Teaching, and Leading. Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Cross Case Brief Final.pdf 

Time Matters: Teacher Collaboration for Learning and Leading. (2018, March 20). Retrieved March 12, 2020, from https://youtu.be/Ex1zfl-MsDk 

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