Books for Professional Development


Here are some books and resources that I use with my tech staff, who are also doing technology staff development:

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

As we work with teachers and administrators in technology staff development we are constantly "moving their cheese." We move from OS 9 (which is never coming back) to OS X, and from Windows 98 to Windows XP, etc. This is a good book to go over at the start of a staff development cycle. We serve the little "fish" crackers and cheese during this session. There is a good video that can be used, works well, because not everyone may have read the book before the session where you want to talk about it. During the session, have each person talk about the "cheese" in their life that they don't like to have moved.


(The Fish! video is better - the book is based on a firm that changes after observing Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market).

The four concepts stressed are: Have Fun, Choose Your Attitude, Make Their Day (involve the customer, teacher or student), and Be There (really listen to the people). This is actually more important for the staff development staff than the teachers you work with. Our tech department (staff of 14 full-time employees) lives these four principals.

Fish Sticks: Keeping the Vision Alive (Video)

They take the world famous Pike Place Fish Market and look at how the strategic plan was developed and how they got their employees to buy into the plan. Great for working with administrators, but they need to see the Fish! video first (not the book).

Fish Tales

A book that covers many different success stories incorporating the Fish! philosophy.

Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles

This takes the idea of "Make Their Day" to another level. The idea is to do such a good job with customer support (in this case, our troubleshooting and staff development) that we have "fans" out in the schools who "rave" about the job we do. This has become a common term in our department now, whenever we get positive feedback (and we get a lot of it).

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn

This book is about one person, Fred, who goes out of his way to do an extraordinary job in a very routine profession. Goes along with the "Raving Fans" concept.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question by John G. Miller

Deals with "what can I do to solve this problem" rather than placing blame on others because they didn't do their part. In one example, a man at a diner orders a Coke with his meal. They don't serve Coca-Cola products, so he asks for water. Pretty soon an arm reaches over his shoulder and places a Coke in front of him. Someone ran to the corner store and purchased a Coke for him. Again ties in well with the "Raving Fans" concept. (Actually the waiter asked his supervisor to go get the Coke - but you need to read the book to get the whole concept.)

Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships by Ken Blanchard

Shamu the Killer whale was not trained with negative reinforcement — imagine trying to punish a five-ton killer whale. To get the tech-averse to buy into using technology, we need to use positive reinforcement.

Submitted by:
Craig Nansen
Technology Coordinator
Minot Public Schools

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