Monday, February 2, 2009

Staff Development, Part Two

Second of Three Parts
Nancy Sulla argues that technology integration has to be accomplished "one teacher at a time", hand in hand with "culture building." I completely agree. My two proposals focus on one-on-one training and team building. The goal is to more deeply embed the practice of technology and transform the school learning culture. In my last blog, I divided the staff into four categories of tech practice and receptiveness. Proposal #1 provides deeper involvement for both the top two, "Pathfinders" and "Jumpstarts". Proposal 2 proactively includes the "Too Old / Too Late" and "Naysayer" groups in vital team projects where they will be encouraged by peer influence and motivated by a goal they help choose. In other words we will teach the teachers through the same methodology we adopt for our students, plugging them into a growing network of co-learners.

Proposal One

This proposal calls for a
Flat Classroom staff development course led by experienced Pathfinders. As Dona Hickey points out, "Too much technology too fast overwhelm[s] novices." Instead of continuing to lob numerous, dazzling, apps and tricks at the staff, we would engage them more deeply with selected Web 2.0 applications. They would learn about applications, practice them and begin to network them interdepartmentally.

I stumbled upon one of Scott McLeod's many impressive wiki resources at CASTLE. When I looked through the media collection on wikis, social bookmarking, video, blogs, Flickr Creative Commons, Google Docs, etc.; I realized how close we were to being able to produce some terrific resources and presentations at our school.

A limited set of these Web 2.0 tools could be selected and really taught to a group of "Jumpstarts". Then they and the "Pathfinders" could engage the rest of the staff in interdepartmental collaborative projects. A Curriculum Committee could predetermine the project goals. The development course would look something like this:

*The group would meet an hour a week for 12 weeks.
*Two or three project based skills would be presented such as
video, blogging, wikis.
*Participants would explore and consider each technology for three or four weeks.
*The last 2 or 3 weeks would be spent on laying out blueprints for the interdepartmental projects.
*The projects would then be plugged into department structures and enlist all staff (more on this in next blog post).

I envision a master Pathfinder leading the course. This proposal would initially address the
Pathfinders and "Jumpstarts". It would require the investment of creating paid time for the participants, but it would not require outside "experts". It would exploit the experience of the Pathfinders and give the Jumpstarts the impetus for truly engaging in technology.

My next proposal would engage the rest of the faculty and has the potential for dynamic impact on the learning culture.

Come back Wednesday for Part 3.
"iPhone...Eye Phone?" Flickr photo with kind permission of John of Dublin
Thank you, Theodore Creighton for reviewing the full document from which this post is adapted.

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