Friday, January 11, 2008

Professional Development

Yesterday, I had a great skype meeting with the middle school technology director of the University of Milwaukee School. I wanted to pick his brain about his professional development program, especially as it pertained to technology and curriculum integration. It helped to reinforce two central ideas I have about ed tech prof development:

1. Ed Tech professional development is simply general professional development. The days of training teachers on software en masse are over. So much of what we do is simply part and parcel of the digital native's world that it necessarily pervades the curriculum. It should not be a separate subject any longer.

2. All schools regardless of money, space or staffing face the same issues of how to make professional development in general become an efficient, ongoing and daily experience for educators.

I'll be meeting with Judi Harris, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va next month. She has spoken at NECC about Educational Technology Professional Development models. Ms. Harris has made herself available to me and a colleague for a couple of HOURS to discuss professional development models and how we can pick and choose from those models to shape one for our own community! Such generosity and spirit of sharing...

Her work, although I am only superficially familiar with it thus far, reinforces a lesson that is central to my growth as a teacher, as a wife, as a human being: there is almost no simple solution to complex problems. It's not a binary code. The best solution will be composed of bits of hands-on, small-group, peer mentoring, online and more. It's a postmodern solution for our postmodern world. I have to keep learning that over and over. Living in the gray zones.

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