ICT Professional Development

In a vast majority of West Australian Senior Schools, Term 4 is a time for finalising Year 12 marks and preparing them, our students for their final WACE exams. It is also a time for planning for the coming year and it is this aspect which has lead me to think about how I will offer further training for all colleagues in ICT.

Lecture Method

Over the past two years I have provided professional development in two basic forms. It is interesting that I had never really considered the ageing of professional development until recently. I guess everyone starts with what we know and what I knew was the structure where teachers walk into a room, watch you do something then try to keep up. The issue with this model is that many teachers inevitably get left behind and with only one of you for twenty of them there is no way to progress through the skills while helping everyone. Not to mention that teachers are far far far worse at following instructions that any student I have ever taught!  In addition this model does not provide an environment that allows teachers to collaborate effectively with other teachers as they learn. So this model doesn’t allow us to utilise our time effectively and doesn’t allow all colleagues to achieve as much as I would like.

On Demand

The second method I attempted was personal 1 : 1 time for the staff members involved. This has the most success but has a large drain on resources and personnel. I used the term ‘On Demand Professional Development’ which provided teachers with a time and a place where I would be and they could access me during these times for any particular issue they felt they needed help with. This models worked a treat and resulted in a much better uptake but I still felt that things could be better and honestly, I could not continue to lose so much time providing professional development in a 1 to 1 format.

Jump Sessions

Finally, I recently attended an Apple event were I looked at a process of providing simple 10 minute jump sessions. Effectively there were 6 stations around a room where a presenter at each showed how simple it was to complete a particular task on an iPad. Attendees were only required to watch the process and take notes as they saw fit. The beauty of this system was that the presenter did not have to worry about where everyone was, but only needed to spark the interest in how it was being done and follow up later in other sessions. In affect after 6 very defined presentations all attendees had received enough instruction to start their own professional development process, seeking help when needed. I intend to run this style in Term 4 2011 for my teachers to look at the iPads, however, it will not be staff that shows teachers how to use the iPads. I will be selecting students to show something they are currently doing on them in order for teachers to understand that even without them doing anything the students are moving forward with technology.

Online Video Tutorials

Online video tutorials have been a growth market for many businesses when it comes to allowing students to access how-to videos. The reality is however that teachers don’t seem to like this method of Professional Development. I think that is because unless a teacher needs to know something with ICT, that is they are directly engaging with it, they don’t seem to want to go and learn about something. Secondary to this is that many teachers are stuck firmly in the traditional methods of learning themselves, requiring another person to hold their hand incase they break something. While I generalise about teachers, I acknowledge that most younger teachers are more independent and will spend time ‘Googling’ for the instructional video. This leads me to question if cchools, given the presence of YouTube, need to invest in companies that provide online video training. I think that this model has passed and that direct ICT video tutorials can be created by staff very quickly to show others, or students for staff.

So which method do you prefer? What’s more interesting is which method most teachers utilise to teach their subject to students every day?

3 Responses to “ICT Professional Development”

  1. Penny 5 November 2011 10:15 am
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    I’ve been really lucky to have the opportunity to work with AISWA to develop professional learning workshops for language teachers. Like you, we’ve tried a range of formats and the most successful one for ICT so far has been the “23 Things” model -- adapted from librarians! 🙂 Every Monday I’d send out information about some-Thing to check out and give some examples of classroom practice. Participants would try it out during the week and then write a blog post about it to share with the rest of the group. We’d have a face-to-face meeting at the beginning, middle, and end of the programme to provide that essential group support, catch-up-time and to look at some of the bigger Things together. http://23things4languages.pbworks.com 🙂

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