Sunday, September 23, 2012

Technology, Professional Development and Learning Communities

This week our video and reading focus was on several topics, including technology intervention, cooperative learning and professional development.  One of the statements in the readings that really interested me was “We often provide “just in case” training rather than “just in time” training” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007).  As I read this I began to think about my own recent summer professional development trainings. Many times as teacher we are presented with professional development just as we need to begin to implement it.  This does not give use much time toTe “chew on it a bit” and “digest it”.  I personally need time to reflect on the usage and how to implement it into my curriculum. I think this leads to frustration, mistakes in how it is put into practice and presentation, and a lack of willingness, on some teachers’ part, to use the technology. Teachers need the same opportunities as students to discover the benefits of new technology tools, especially if they are expected to use them immediately in the classroom.

Another issue that was discussed was professional development and emergence of professional learning communities, which in a sense is like the Personal Learning Communities learned about in a previous course. Another statement from a reading, “a strong feeling of community increases the willingness to share information, the passion to support each other, and the collaborative efforts to complete joint activities.” (Solomon & Schrum, 2007) Reading this made me think about how it might be useful in my school.  We do not really have formal professional learning communities.  In fact, I feel just the opposite.  I see a specific committee group of teachers who are involved with the implementing of a grant-funded program as almost a clique.  I feel that I use technology as much as or more than others do, yet when I try to share my activities and “new” technology a teacher from this group the response is less enthusiastic than I expect.  I feel that, as teachers we are not unified in our endeavors in the implementation of technology and this will not be helpful to the success of the program.

Solomon, G. & Schrum, L. (2007). Web 2.0: New tools, New schools. Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education, 99-116.

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