Technology embedded Professional Development

Technology can bring benefits to the classroom, and can be used to provide authentic learning activities. One way to help educators is to show them how to effectively use technology in their classroom, in the same way as we would our students, in authentic learning activities that are integrated as part of professional development. Increasing the effectiveness of professional development with authentic learning, integrating technology has the potential of increasing teacher performance.

Increasing content knowledge, while important, is not enough to change how teachers teach. They need the confidence in their own ability to integrate technology successfully and confidence that doing so will benefit student learning. Within professional development, there are opportunities to embed small-scale activities integrating technology in which we can meet teachers’ needs and provide them with positive experiences. The activities should facilitate examples of good teaching in which student learning increases.

The conversation around professional development should include attention to and an understanding of the “Digital Use Divide”. In the past our attention has been on the digital divide, which refers to the    disparity between students with access to the internet and devices and those who do not.  Significant progress is being made to increase the number of devices and Internet access in schools, libraries, and homes across the country. The divide is not just applicable to our students, but also our teachers, administrators and communities. Teachers who themselves don’t understand how to use technology, should experience its use through professional development activities. However, a digital use divide is mainly the way that technology can be integrated to support and create new ways of learning and not through activities that are changed into an technological process. The digital use divide exists in both high and low socioeconomic communities and in both high and low performing schools.

For successful technology-enabled preparation and professional development will involve new instructional approaches and techniques, using new tools, and training in skills and expertise of educators who teach in these programs. The changes should be based on a deep understanding of the roles and practices of educators in technology-rich environments. Other elements of successful teacher professional development should create learning communities where teachers can share and discuss learning activities that they use with their students. When technology integration is designed and skillfully applied new types of learning experiences become available.

Professional development works best when building a culture focused on inclusive, collaborative, needs-based training that is ongoing, job embedded and available just in time learning. The current focus on increasing student learning and measuring learning through testing, teacher professional development is explicitly linked to content knowledge. The level of participation in professional development, encourages more opportunities to learn and directly impacts student learning.

Discussions are turning toward the possibility of teachers earning micro-credentials, this strategy recognizes the skills and practices of participating in ongoing professional development. There will is needed work in deciding how and who will provide the micro-credentials and then how do we recognize them.

Armstrong, M., & Earle, L. (2012). Sustained blended professional development in the 21st century. Retrieved from Sustained_Blended_Professional_Development_in_the_21st_Century

Bishop, D, Lumpe, A., Henrikson, R, & Crane, C. (2016). Transforming Professional Learning in Washington State – Project Evaluation Report. Seattle Pacific University: Seattle, WA.

Ertmer, P.A., and Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A.T. (2010). Teacher technology change: How Knowledge, Confidence, Beliefs, and Culture Intersect (PDF). Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42(3), 255-284.

Gerard, L.F., Varma, K., Corliss, S.B., and Linn, M.C. (2011). Professional Development for Technology-Enhanced Inquiry Science [Abstract]. Review of Educational Research, 81(3), 408-448.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2016). Future Ready Learning Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education 2016 NATIONAL EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY PLAN U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


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1 thought on “Technology embedded Professional Development

  1. Great thoughts on the digital divide and how can be seen across many populations and schools. Content knowledge is definitely not enough! Our educators, like our students, need to have equal and rich access to digital resources.

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