I would like to get inputs on 2 areas. They are:
I am involved in professional development works for teachers in the area of educational technology. What I found to be a common issue (from practice and the literature) is that after workshop or training, teachers claimed that although the sessions were informative and good, they were not able to translate what they have learnt into practice. Often I get 'How do I use it for my subject (i.e English or Maths or Science, etc). Point is, as I am not the content expert, I am not able to hold any workshop or training that is subject specific. Also, as educational tools are only tools, every educators will have differing strategies (even in teaching the same topic). I would appreciate if anyone could share on the followings:
Have anyone used the interactive whiteboard before? Pls share on how you have used it (and also if there are any issues).
Thank you much in anticipation!
Like Steve said, I think it's necessary to provide teachers with examples of how other teachers are implementing technology in content areas. Also, it might be good to create professional networks during your trainings, where teachers sit with other teachers in their content area (or grade level) and, at the end of the training session, they brainstorm ideas for using the tool in their classroom. Then, the different groups can share out to spark new ideas.
I also think it's a REALLY good idea to ask for teacher input on what they'd like from the sessions. I've done this in the past and have completely re-designed training sessions in order to fit the needs of the teachers. It was difficult but, in the end, the teachers got a lot more out of the session, which is the most important thing.
I tried to co-teach before too...but I think its more of the co-generative dialogue. This was based on Roth and Tobin work on co-teaching/co-generative dialogue. What I did was to let teachers proposed the topic that they want to do and the technology that they wished to recruit in the particular lesson package, which in this case was an English lesson on Situational writing. I did not proposed any specific tool or strategies. What I did was more of a socratic dialogue, asking and getting clarification with teachers on their strategies and why they have chose the technology tool in their task design. This was to somewhat make them move away from their comfort zone, and experiment something new. But through the dialogues, they became more informed and aware of their decisions. I also tried to point them to other relevant resources that they can tap on such as the IT Trainer and students technical expertise. So, that itself is a co-teaching where students were involved as part of the task design.
There are 2 things that I particularly found out from this experiences. One is again about content. I am not a content expert in EL, and hence to co-teach in content matter will be rather difficult. But what I did was more of a facilitator of the lessons that contibuted on matters pertaining to the uses of technology (as how the teachers have designed). This was more on managing students work when they used technology such as preparation of the Sites, granting permissions, inviting other to join for collaboration and such. Doin this in the same class as the teachers were teaching gave them the idea of some matters that they'll need to taje note in their future planning. The other was that, from teachers perspective, they claimed that the co-generative discussions were very useful. They were able to see beyond their normal practices.
However, I was not able to follow-up because this was part of a research study and its ending soon. However my immediate 'take way lesson' from this experience was that I think what teachers need to know is how they can match the affordances of technology to their pedagogical needs. So what I intend to do in future is to have a workshop (and this workshop should be done before any technical training on any technology tools) to share with teachers how they can analyse affordances of any IT tools from 3 prespectives i.e. pedagogy, social and technical. So I hope after which, when they attend any workshop on any IT tools, in their mind they are also thinking of the possible affordances thats available and if how they match their pedagogical needs.
What do you think about this?
Production Workshops - "Flip Your PD Sessions"
Wan, I have been involved in many Teacher Training sessions on the International Contracts in which I'm involved. Like you, our workshops brought together teachers from many subject areas and was strongly attempted to align with as many subject areas as possible.We often get the same response as you have "loved the session", "learned alot" but when we followed up in the classrooms there was very little 'take up' of the new skills.
Our solution...."Production Workshops" - it's very much like the trend now to 'flip your classroom' (see http://www.connectedprincipals.com/archives/1534 / http://electriceducator.blogspot.com/2010/09/flip-your-classroom-th... / http://mast.unco.edu/programs/vodcasting/). We require the participants to do "homework" before coming to the workshop and we are clear that the main purpose of the workshop is for the teacher to PRODUCE instructional material that they will use in their classroom applying the technologies/knowledge which are the focus of the workshop. The workshop is seen as SUCCESSFUL only if the teacher goes out the door with the Instructional PRODUCT...not just the knowledge.
Some of the 'homework' might involve researching how other teachers in their subject area are using the particular technology and then choosing one application of the technique they want to 'personalize' for their class. Other workshops might require bringing in the raw materials necessary to complete workshop tasks (in a digital storytelling workshop, the teachers might have to show up with their script complete).
We still have workshops with teachers from different subject areas but now there is less time spent on direct instruction, monkey-see-monkey-do activities or "here's something you might be able to use" formats. There is much more peer-to-peer learning, cross-pollination between subject areas and creative ideas amongst the teachers and the workshop leaders are very much facilitators with their main role to assist the teachers complete their project.
This type of PD does take longer...Some might say we don't have time for longer sessions. Do we have time for all the lost hours of teacher time on ineffective training? Perhaps it's time we 'flip' teacher professional development sessions!