Panel Topic #9: The training gap--professional development and rapid technological change. How do we train a huge workforce in skills that are just being understood?

Possible subtopics:

1. Letting educators themselves help to identify the needs and resources (very Web 2.0)
2. Too many new tools? How do we deal with this?

Tags: office20con, pd

Views: 66

Replies to This Discussion

On the topic of getting educators to identify needs and resources themselves, this is where our money is going as we are about to start a European project in which we advise the setting up of mentoring schemes to support and embed best practices. A mentoring scheme has been implemented in Scottish schools (called GLOW) and we will look at that to see how it can help us in applying such an approach in a more European context. Also within the Classroom 2.0 Ning community there is a group supporting the generation Yes approach whereby students are enrolled to help out their teachers.

I believe the mentoring approach has a lot going for it. The challenge will be to strike the right balance between the degree of formality and informality.
Anne: it seems applications/platforms like Ning can provide opportunities for self-generated mentoring environments. I think CR 2.0 is a fascinating example of how much educators (people) want to learn and grow when given a tool that allows them to do so.
What I need to make concrete is why an environment like Ning would serve us better than say, Moodle. Although the project is not yet even officially approved, my prospective partners are eager to go. I was musing out loud that we could look at Ning and the immediate reaction was, if it aint broke, why mend it - in other words, let's stick with Moodle with which we are now familiar and which we control because it is on our servers.

Mentoring requires a certain amount of privacy, ie a closed group but on the other hand we would like our mentors to be able to draw on the experience of others in a vibrant community of practice. Perhaps we could send our mentors here for their community of practice? Set up a group for them here maybe.
Mentoring sounds like the ideal place to put money as Anne stated below. As we are (or aim to be) reflective practitioners, mentoring and communities and that type of support and safe places for reflection and exploration should be the perfect fit with any consideration of instruction - Web 2.0 included.

The safety element will be important - as some of the beliefs and styles of teachers will be challenged in order for Web 2.0 to work well for teaching and learning. When we are challenged, we often go back to what's comfortable - it's human nature - so consideration of the psychology of change and teacher support I think will be very important.

As to the idea of too many tools - well I grapple with this as well - but in my opinion schools would do well to start establishing their own portals and online communities and having teachers consider what tools become part of that portal. We're probably going in this direction in general with Google and now Microsoft getting onboard with creating far-reaching products within one cohesive portal/environment.

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