Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to do a 2-hour Technology Professional Development


As I posted previously, if you are trying to integrate new technology into teacher practice, a one-stop workshop is not going to be the best solution.  Long-term training and support is what is needed to help teachers learn, try and slowly begin the hard process of integrating technology effectively and making long-term change in instructional practice. What do you do then when a one-stop, 2 hour workshop is all you have?

This is the predicament I find myself in - preparing for a 2-hour Sketchpad
workshop. The reality is, one-stop workshops are still the norm because of costs and time mostly. I am not stupid enough to think after 2 hours I am going to convince all my participants that they should use Sketchpad in their math classrooms, nor am I idealistic enough to think that they will even try to implement things. My goal is to spur some excitement and provide the tools where they can try and get support. If you only have a couple of hours, then you want to inspire, relate, practice, and support.

Here's my plan:
1) Inspire - show a really cool application of Sketchpad that sparks their interest and let's them see the dynamic capabilities and the ability to 'construct' math concepts.
2) Relate - model some uses of Sketchpad with them that relate directly to what the participants teach.  Showing them how to teach a concept using Sketchpad that they could do in their classroom helps them picture themselves using the technology with their students.
 3) Practice - they need to play around with the tools, practice and have some time to get hands-on with it.  To facilitate this and again, to keep it related to what they do in the classroom, they learn through DOING math.  One of the reasons Sketchpad is so great is it comes with built in tutorials and activities in the Learning Center that offers something at all grades and skill levels.
 4) Support - Let's face it...after only 2 hours, they have not even touched the surface.  So, support and resources are needed to help them keep learning, try things that are ready and proven to work with students, and be able to see how Sketchpad can be an amazing instructional tool.  Thankfully, Sketchpad is a technology tool that comes with amazing support and resources. I will definitely make sure they spend time exploring the Learning Center and know where they can get support from a community of sketchpad users at the Sketch Exchange.

Summing up: Two hours of technology training is not enough time to change anyone's practice.  If it's all you have, then make the most of it and get that interest and motivation to try something new started.  The key element here, after the 2 hours, is that participants leave knowing there is support and ready-to-use activities to make their attempts at implementing it easier.

I will keep you posted on how this turns out after Friday.

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