4 Replies Latest reply on Jun 16, 2009 12:33 PM by sdixon

    Professional Development Offerings

    julesfischy

      Are you happy with your school/district professional development (PD) offering? Have you experienced PD solutions that worked and would like to see more of the same?  What advice would you give decision makers regarding improving professional development offerings?



        • Re: Professional Development Offerings
          glen_w

          We have had a mix of successful and less successful Professional Development offerings in my district. Offerings that have been most successful have had teachers actively using software and hardware in trainings that they also had in their classrooms. The offerings that have been less successful have either been "lecture oriented" or train on software/hardware that teachers do not have access to. Perhaps the most challenging class I attended in the past year was on Web 2.0 and tools to benefit students and teachers. We spent about 1.5 of 2.5 hours in a lecture / PPT setting. At a break, I volunteered to share Twitter and was quickly invited up become one of the facilitators. I shared Twitter and asked my PLN to provide ideas of their favorite online Web 2.0 tools. We were so busy reviewing these sites that we unfortunately never made it back to the PPT presentation. I've also seen people take PD classes involving hardware (such as for an IWB) when they do not have it in their classroom. These people seem to hope they are going to get the hardware just because they attend the class. They are VERY disappointed when that does not happen. My advice to decision makers would be to provide hardware and software to teachers along with the appropriate training on how to use it. This also applies to the opposite situation. I have had people ask me to train them on hardware that was put into their classroom. There was NO Professional Development provided for them. I'm sure that the opportunity to learn from a mentor in the school is probably better than sitting in a class where the training is provided as PPTs.

          • Re: Professional Development Offerings
            tdiener

            In my varied roles in staff development programs, I think I have experienced every SD model, but the most successful staff development program I was ever involved in was one where we invited High School students to join teachers in a series of mini courses. We had a handful of tech savvy teachers who wanted to learn Flash, Fireworks and DreamWeaver. We also had some students who wanted to learn these same titles. We took a chance and put them together. It was an amazing experience. The kids were impressed with the teachers' passion and the teachers were impressed with the kids' skills. (I have to mention that the kids picked up the instruction in half the time it took the teachers.

            • Re: Professional Development Offerings

              I have to agree with Glen. If the teachers do not have the software that they are being trained on, they have fun for 2 hours, but then it is gone. I usually  have my participants create something that they can take back to their classroom and use the next day if needed. If we do train on software, we usually provide the software to the participants. In the near future, we will be developing an education portal that will allow participants to reflect on their experiences once they get back to the class. I think this is going to work well in the fact that they know they will have to post ideas on what they have done and hopefully this will keep them going.

              One of the most successful classes that I taught was on Clay Animation. The teachers were so excited and because it was hands on, we were able to discuss any difficulties and successes. The greatest part of the class was that I was invited into the classroom by one of my participants to actually help him implement it in his class with the students. Awesome! It was so nice to see the students problem solving while creating a project other than PowerPoint.

              • Re: Professional Development Offerings

                Probably the most successful professional development models that have been used in our district involved extensive follow up and support after conducting a series of  trainings. Even though the grant provided for the distribution of some technology and software, we believe the school-based support system made it a success. Throughout the year-long process, we were ale to build school technology teams, who were then able to train other teachers.