14 November 2008

Best Practice 4 Technology Integration

Here's another K12OnlineConference session from the Prove It strand, “Facilitating Technology Integration: A Synthesis of the Research” by Jonathon Becker. Doctor Becker examined the research which had already been reported in the literature. He concluded and his reference list of the artcles he examined shows that very little research has been done to examine what manner of professional development (PD) is best to facilitate integrating technology into a teacher's classroom and practice. If a teacher's practice and method change due to the PD then it has been successful. But what makes it successful?

Doctor Becker does a great job of synthesizing "best practice" for PD in technology integration. The keys are: Community, Time, and Content Focus.

  • Community -- colloraborative learning, making use of personal learning networks, reflecting, and sharing
  • High Duration & Intensity -- as much time as possible, but condensed, i.e. 60 hours in 2 weeks or 10-12 hours each weekend for a month.
  • Content Focus with shared learning goals.

When I think back on my days as a teacher librarian, I realize that most of the school district's PD for integrating technology was not best practice. It was of short duration and focused on the technology rather that how to use it in instruction. There was some community, but it wasn't sustained. I'm thinking that inservice days for PD for integrating technology should allow a person to choose one and only one tool (blog, wiki, ning, podcast etc.) for the entire day/s with reflection and sharing done during an entire semester/year. I can think of only one example of best practice of integrating technology and it was when the district implemented a new library management system. Teacher librarians had four days of technical training and then worked with support staff. We all had a common goal. District library staff discussed and shared learning experiences as needed and on a regular basis throughout the school year.

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