How Great Educators Want EdTech Training and Professional Development To be?

How Great Educators Want EdTech Training and Professional Development To be?
21st century classrooms entirely differ from traditional ones in infrastructure, teaching approaches of educators and learning styles of students. In order to reach the current learning standards, there is a need to upgrade the traditional classrooms
 with latest educational technologies.

Technology alone can’t help students learn unless it’s implemented with the hands of an efficient educator. This is why most of the institutions feel that spending money on educators’ professional development isn’t a cost but an investment. And the question is about the views of educators on their edtech professional development. How do they expect their edtech training and professional development to be? Let me share with you the opinions of a few great educators.

Opinions of educators from #bbchat webinar series (brought to you by BrightBytes ) on Personalized Learning Plans for Educators (by Kristen Swanson & Tom Murray):

“Professional learning shouldn't happen just one or two days a year”, said Anne Reardon , MASD K-12 Instructional Coach focused on helping teachers and students use technology to learn, share and grow. According to Anne, educational institutions shouldn’t conduct PD programs just occasionally. They don’t give effective results and at the same time they can’t make teachers interested in learning. What administrators need to focus on is the quality of learning and not the quantity of hours spent.

 “Spending Hours of PD for teachers is like seat time for kids. We need to focus on the learning”, added Anne Reardon.

Another educator Michele Ramsey added a supportive statement which stated that institutions should focus on learning and what educators need is a professional development that is hands-on, engaging and applicable.

Alex Podchaski , an edtech enthusiast and the Director of Technology for a K-12 school, has also shared his views on professional development, that it depends entirely on the way educators feel responsible towards it. “Attitude is the key ingredient for professional development - if you don't want it, you won't "get" it”, said Alex Podchaski.

Many educators like to develop professionally and learn the effective usage of educational technologies, but the training programs they’re receiving aren’t up to their satisfaction. This makes them lose interest in Professional Development.

Tom Murray , the Director of Technology and Cyber Education for the Quakertown Community School District in Bucks County, is passionate about differentiated professional development.  He is a former middle school assistant and also an elementary school principal. He has suggested an 8-step strategy for Professional development reform . School districts can reform their professional development with the following approaches.

Few exclusive points are as follows:

Clear Vision: Everyone who takes part in the training program must know about the end goal, utilization of invested time and benefits of the training.

Daily Learning Process: As I told you earlier, professional development shouldn’t be confined to set of days in a year or a month. It’s an ongoing and daily learning process. Let’s learn about the ways to make PD a daily process.

Karen Lirenman’s approach:

There is no doubt that professional development can be a daily learning process, because educators make it a hobby with the use of several resources like Social media. Such educators are called self-learners. Karen Lirenman , a grade one teacher, has shared her views on professional development stating that the feedback has been positive with the PD she has done.

Being a Connected Educator helps you learn with interest and develop professionally:

Sometimes educational institutions may not provide sufficient professional development training but what teachers can do is to become a community learner or a connected educator to improve their professional skills.

“I receive little training. I'm a self-learner; I seek out knowledge through reading blogs, joining twitter chats etc. I also ask a lot of questions of people doing things I'm interested in doing or I modify to make things work for my class”, said Karen Lirenman.

List Suggested Twitter Hash tags which help you connect with expert educators and grow professionally:

The following is the list of Twitter hash tags that help you explore many educators’ views as well as resources about professional development. Learning through conversations is surely an effective and interesting way.

We hope this information is useful for you to know about the opinions of some educators on edtech training and professional development programs, the drawbacks of current training strategies and some ideas to reform them, and also self-learning techniques. We’d like to have your views as well. Please feel free to share with us your views and suggestions on effective professional development programs.

About the Author
Author: Santosh Bhaskar KWebsite:
Devotee of Dr. Abdul Kalam. Following his path of Creating Creative Education in India. Contributing my works in "India Vision 2020". Former EdTech Blogger/Researcher at ETR India

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