Sustaining Technology After PD

With new technology rolling into schools constantly it can be easy for a teacher to become overwhelmed. As coaches, I think we can help teachers become more comfortable using technology. According to Standard 1d from ISTE coaches “Implement strategies for initiating and sustaining technology innovations and manage the change process in schools and classrooms”. Looking deeper into this substandard I wanted to know strategies to help teachers feel less overwhelmed with new technology innovations.

The Struggles

With districts and schools being different across the nation there are different struggles teachers can have when implementing technology regardless of the grade level. Brendon Hyndman, a Senior Lecturer and Course Director at Charles Sturt University wrote the article “Ten Reasons teachers can struggle to use technology in the classroom” to help give an insight to what might be happening with technology use in the classroom. In the article, Hyndman stated the following ten reasons

  1. Introduced technology is not always preferred
  2. Differing device capabilities and instructions
  3. It’s easy for students to be distracted
  4. Technology can affect lesson time and flow
  5. Teachers need more professional development
  6. Not everyone has technology at home
  7. Teachers need to protect students
  8. Not all teachers “believe” in using technology
  9. Lack of adequate support, infrastructure, or time
  10. Tensions between students and teachers

While these struggles might not apply to every teacher its good for coaches to know that these struggles are happening. With this information, coaches can focus on ways to help alleviate these issues.

How Can Coaches Help Teachers

To bring education into the digital age, we must give teachers the skills they need to adapt their classrooms. And teachers can’t do it alone – they need district and state leaders to invest in meaningful professional development opportunities that let them explore new teaching practices, but what does solid professional development look like? A NWEA article by Hugh Fournier lists the following seven things to consider in teacher professional development.

  1. Align professional development to instructional goals. Armed with a good understanding of student learning goals, Jean says, “Look for synergies between assessment data, curricula, and other instructional resources.” When good information goes into a development program, good results will follow.
  2. Identify learning outcomes. While a good number of objectives will suit all teachers, there are certain teams that will need different goals and outcomes – intervention specialists, as an example. Depending on the learning outcomes needed for each team or group of teachers, different professional development needs may apply.
  3. Review existing professional development options. Many school districts likely have access to existing professional development tools. Are they right for your current needs or goals? That’s the key question that needs to be asked and discussed before settling on the professional development program that will bring the success your school is looking for.
  4. Give the gift of time. Good teacher professional development does not happen in one sitting (with or without a clown nose). It’s necessary to carve out time for teachers to meet regularly, so it’s important to dedicate time and resources accordingly.
  5. Make professional learning relevant. When designing or selecting your teacher professional development program, be sure to make sure that it can be applied in the classroom right away. It should possess insights and strategies that align with what teachers are doing in their daily classroom work.
  6. Measure success with metrics. By building evaluation metrics into the professional development program, teachers and staff will be able to measure the effectiveness of the program. In this way, adjustments can be made to ensure the overall success of the program.
  7. Keep staff engaged. Teachers and administrators need to be engaged throughout the program – during the collaboration time as well as in the classroom.

Tips For When PD is Over

After professional develop concludes teachers might still feel overwhelmed with all of the information they just received. One of my classmates mentioned that she has heard time and time again from teachers about PD and coaching is that they want tips, tools, and strategies that they can implement immediately without a ton of extra work.

Tips, tools, and strategies should be easily accessible to teachers. Paper handouts, a bulletin board, or an online site should be available. At my own district, all technology information including tips and tools is located in our staff KIT (Knowledgebase for Integrating Technology). On this site, teachers can find technical information about curriculum, integration, troubleshooting, etc. If there is ever a need for further assistance our helpdesk is just an email or phone call away.

Conclusion

Although professional development is a strong way to initiate technology for teachers hopefully, we can implement some tips, tools, and strategies to make the job of teaching less stressful. By working to ensure that teachers aren’t overwhelmed with technology integration we can have successful use in the classroom.

 

Sources:

Fournier, Hugh. “7 Things to Consider in a #Teacher Professional Development Program | #Edchat #TeacherPD.” Teach. Learn. Grow., 11 July 2017, www.nwea.org/blog/2017/seven-things-consider-teacher-professional-development-program/.

Hyndman, Brendon. “Ten Reasons Teachers Can Struggle to Use Technology in the Classroom.” The Conversation, The Conversation, 24 Sept. 2018, theconversation.com/ten-reasons-teachers-can-struggle-to-use-technology-in-the-classroom-101114.

Iste.org. (2017). ISTE Standards For Coaches. [online] Available at: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches [Accessed 7 Oct. 2018].

 

4 Comments

  1. What kind of experiences have you had when you start with learning goals and objectives? It does seem like a teacher friendly approach. I really like the idea of giving students a choice both in shaping the learning activity and in choosing the tools they use to complete it. Has this been an effective strategy for you?

  2. Kelsey, I appreciate that your blog post acknowledges the struggles that many teachers go through with the use of technology in classrooms. As a teacher with computers in my classroom and a digital curriculum, I understand these struggles well. It’s great that you followed these struggles with strategies for professional development. I especially like the advice to identify learning outcomes, because that will help to keep the focus of the teacher and coach on student learning, rather than the use of tech. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Kelsey. I think so many teachers struggle with this issue. I also appreciated looking at your district’s KIT website. The one thing that stuck out to me in your list of how coaches can help support teachers is “give the gift of time”. Trying new things takes time and time is a precious commodity in education. Great work!

  4. Hi Kelsey,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the reasons teachers struggle with technology and some possible solutions that coaches can provide. I can relate to Reason #1. Prior to my current position, I was so familiar and comfortable with Google for Education. The shift to Microsoft with its many glitches and particulars has been such a challenge for me. Even when PD is offered, I get so frustrated that additional steps are needed to achieve limited functionality compared to Google. I’m not sure this is an issue that even a great coach could solve. However, one of your points for how coaches can help might be an opportunity for coaches and districts to revise existing options. I think it’s so important to continually evaluate options for new technology and not get stuck with one particular program. I think points 2 and 3 support this idea of constant re-evaluation.
    Lauren

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