Embed Technology Use in Content Specific Professional Development

As the emphasis in professional development continues to shift to standards-based instruction and new curricula adoptions, we don't have time to schedule technology in-services. And yet, many teachers on staff still aren't using technology for instruction. What do I do?

Just as students don't retain and use learn discrete skills taught out of context, most adults need professional development training in which use of technology is taught within the context of actual classroom practice rather than simply focusing on proficiency. The Southwest Development Laboratory's two-year Applying Technology to Restructuring and Learning (ATRL) project, which concluded in 2000, showed that teachers dramatically increase their use of technology as an instructional tool when the following three factors are present in professional development:

  • Emphasis on comfort with technology use rather than proficiency;
  • Focus on classroom management techniques;
  • Modeling of appropriate of use of technology in instruction.

Training that firmly embeds technology use within content areas debunks the notion that technology is an 'add-on' and helps teachers learn how to manage this powerful resource. For more information about this project, go to http://www.thejournal.com/magazine/vault/A4070.cfm.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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