I'm part of the team that is rolling out a new web based report card to all 5,000 elementary teachers at my school board. There are 8 of us who will be working in our school board's training labs and at schools in-servicing teaching staff. With the in-servicing and support calls, I know that it is going to be a very busy October and November. If you have any tips for large rollouts I would love to hear them.
I have just finished reading "Innovative Approaches to Literacy Education." It is a book that includes chapters from a number of different authors. While I didn't find very much new information I did enjoy reading Tim Lauer's chapter journey from web pages to blogs and RSS, and Dale Hubert's Flat Stanley project.
Julie Coiro's final chapter really stood out. She reflects on effective professional development for technology integration and outlines four things that she has learned through her own experiences.
1. Most effective when professional development is determined by teachers around their own needs of professional study.
2. Listen to teachers needs and provide resources that address those needs from a realistic classroom perspective.
3. Teachers are seeking research-based effective practices that support integrating technology into instruction.
4. Teachers learn best when provided with models for linking technology with purposeful reading and writing activities.
She points to the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow study which suggests that teachers move through a developmental continuum in their integration practices:
1) adoption – use technology to support traditional instruction
2) adaption – integrate technology into existing classroom activities
3) appropriation – developing new approaches to teaching by taking advantage of technology
4) innovation – discover new uses of technology tools
Julie also advocates for the study group model of professional development which she draws from Lyon and Pinnel's book "Systems of Change in Literacy Education: A guide for Professional Development", where facilitators guide teachers through a professional development program framed in ten components.
1. Assessing the context for teaching and learning
2. provide basics of a new approach with concrete examples of organization and routine
3. demonstrate with explicit examples
4. establish clear rationales for the approach
5. engage teachers in active learning and exploration of new techniques
6. invite teachers to try new techniques and share their analysis of process and results
7. establish procedures for pursing a plan of action
8. coach for shifts in teacher and student behavior
9. coach to support teacher reflection, and continual refinement
10. extend learning through small group conversations that connect theory with practice and build networks among educators.