A Closer Look at Professional Development in the Era of Technology Enriched Classrooms
By Keith Broyles
Since the introduction of the Gutenberg press in 1440, man has continued to build new technologies aimed at simplifying daily tasks. In doing so, we have invented many technologies which early philosophers and scientists could only dream about. But, what we could never have imagined was how quickly technology would develop over time. One of the greatest examples of this was the introduction of the world’s first personal computer. On April 11th, 1976 two young men, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, released their first product, the Apple-1 personal computer. In my opinion, this invention was the catalyst which began the “public Digital Age”. Little did the world know that, in a little under 40 years, we would all be carrying around miniature computers in our pockets. Now, the same phenomenon can be said about technology within education. In the past 40 years, we have gone from chalk and black boards to gesture based applications, tablets, and interactive whiteboards (just to name a few technologies). These technologies are being developed at a rapid pace and I would argue that many school district administrators have the mindset that if there is technology in the classroom, it is being integrated and used effectively. This is entirely untrue and the basis of my paper. In order to teach our students how to be successful in their future careers through the use of technology, we must first focus on educating the teachers on how to effectively use the technology they have access to.
Although none of the teachers at my building have told me directly, I get the impression that many teachers are fearful of technology integration due to the lack of professional development needed to implement it effectively. Technology is a necessary skill which all teachers need to implement in their classrooms. However, there are many barriers which effect the integration of technology into a classroom. These include a lack of technology-focused professional development, the funding needed following professional development and the complicating task of learning a new technology while implementing it. This essay addresses the barriers to effective technology integration as well as successful models of professional development. In order to get an understanding of the technology-based skill levels and professional development of my coworkers, I developed a Google Form survey which offered great information.
Professional Development Survey Results (After survey completion)
1) Introduction and Purpose of the Survey
2) Those involved
a) Three Schools and other individuals within education
Barriers to Effective Technology Integration
Lack of Technology-Focused Professional Development Opportunities While presenting to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, teacher Jeffery Chin stated, “Teachers often express frustration that the lack of available training makes it difﬁcult to take full advantage of the wide range of educational technology. ( Jeffrey Chinn U.S. House 2000). Basically, what Chin is saying is we have an abundance of technology at our fingertips as educators but only enough understanding to effectively utilize a small percentage of it. Often, technology is purchased quickly and without forethought as to how teachers will become proficient in its use. Just as there are many technologies available for purchase, there is an abundance of professional development classes aimed at supporting technology as well. A problem arises however, when one tries to take advantage of these opportunities. In order to do so, it requires funding and support which may not always be readily available.
I believe that Adam Phillipp does an excellent job describing the current issue