By Rob Mancabelli, CIO Advisor
In my previous post, I listed five tips for more successful technology professional development. But format and content won’t matter if you don’t have the time (or money) to schedule it. So in Part 2 of my PD series, I’m listing three ways that schools have leaped over the resource hurdles that pop up along the way.
1. Replacing meetings with PD time
Many of today’s meetings are a relic of days gone by. Ask yourself—are your gatherings mostly one-way presentations of factual information? If they are, then move those announcements online and re-allocate the time to PD. Two meetings a month translates into two full days a year of PD, and most people will prefer the opportunity to learn. Ask people to try out what they learn between meetings and report back.
2. Tech tools linked to expectations
A few years ago, a teacher I know made a terrific observation. She said, “I don’t know why in most schools the technology is mandatory and the professional development is voluntary. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” New technologies mean an opportunity to link the distribution of those tools to mandatory PD. And don’t be afraid to have these classes go far beyond basic functionality. A new iPad can come with a class on social learning; a netbook can be tied to Google Docs. Focus on things that will inspire student collaboration and creativity.
3. Volunteer now, get paid later
Most teachers have a pretty full plate, and it’s a lot of work to teach a “tech class” to their peers. Consider offering your teachers this deal—put together a short class “for free” during the school year, and you’ll get paid to teach a longer class over the summer. It’s a way to reward people who take the time to present on a new tool at a department gathering or faculty meeting, and it is a way to engage teachers in summer growth and development. I’ve even seen money for these summer classes come from paid registrants from other schools. That’s truly a win/win.
These are some of my tips. How do you find time and money for PD?
Rob Mancabelli is the co-author of Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. Let him know if you liked this post by going to http://www.mancabelli.com/category/blog/.