The last week, an educator asked the question…. what digital learning technology can my school district invest in that will not become obsolete? The answer… teacher training technology! More specifically, professional development (PD) sessions that essentially deliver the knowledge, skills and competencies required for a successful transition from a 20th century schooling style to 21st century digital learning style. This is the critical component for success in any school technology initiative and implementation.
It’s sad… but today too many schools purchase iPad tablets, laptops, and multimedia netbooks but don’t acquire appropriate digital learning teacher training from digital learning professionals to truly integrate technology into classroom instruction. It’s akin to purchasing a car without really learning how to drive a car. And, expect the same results.
Let me share an example of a digital learning PD session that successfully integrated digital technology in classrooms. A rural high school recently got a federal grant to purchase instructional technology for their schools. The administrators purchased 800 iPad 2’s with the grant funds and set aside 25% of the grant for teacher training. Realizing that the district’s 20th century IT department did not have the capacity to train classroom teachers to effectively integrate wireless digital resources into daily lessons… the school contracted a professional digital learning organization to provide the training. After spending an initial hour training teachers on how to turn-on and use the iPad features… the instruction immediately went into teaching teachers new strategies and techniques in how to engage students in a digital learning environment. Here are examples of the PD sessions:
• Teachers learned how to use digital tools and resources to deliver instructional content to “free-up” classroom time to enable a teacher to spend more personal “one-on-one” time with students.
•Teachers learned how to spend “less-time” at the blackboard and “more-time” on the classroom floor… spending shoulder-to-shoulder time with students that need additional help.
•The teachers also learned… how to extend instructional time beyond the classroom walls while continuing to engage students in the learning process.
•They learned how to use cell phones as an on-demand assessment tool that excited students.
Technology teacher training must go beyond how to turn-on a device with a brief overview familiarization of its features and apps. It must also include “teaching behavior changing” strategies and techniques to be truly effective in the transition to a 21st century digital learning model.
The correct answer to overcoming technology obsolesce… make teacher professional development a key part of every technology purchase!
Lee Stewart, “The Digital Learning Guy”