Momentum for integrating technology can only happen when there is adequate support in place. As Kadijevich (2006) stated, support is one of three factors which will affect technology use of teachers.
I would propose two forms of support to sustain the professional development of teachers in their uses of technology. The first would be in-service days, or half days, where instructional time is spent exploring a new technology. Adequate time is necessary for teachers to receive instruction, and begin engaging meaningfully in the use of the technology. Secondly, I propose regular meetings between teacher-pairs for mentorship time related to the new technology.
In my school division, designated meeting time set aside once every month for “Team Meetings.” In the past few years, this time has been used for the various Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) which exist within the schools. For example, one PLC centered on issues related to health and wellness programs in our school. Another PLC centered on the school-day schedule and other planning issues. A case can be made for this time to be used for Professional Learning Communities related to technology integration within the school.
Showcasing Integrated Technology
As teachers become more comfortable with blogs, they may start using them in various ways: Blogs can be used as:
* Class Portals: to communicate information about the class and to archive course materials; a place to publish the course curriculum, syllabus, class rules, homework assignments, rubrics, handouts, and presentations (blogs are a powerful course management tool!)
* Online Filing Cabinet: a digital filing cabinet for students to archive their work and create a space for an online portfolio of work. (a record of student work)
* E-Portfolio: students collect the work they want to highlight; they can reflect on their work in a blog post and publish the results
* Collaborative Space: a place for students to collaborate with others online; learn from each other or from other professionals who can work side by side in a digital space
* Knowledge Management and Articulation: a place for school committees and groups to store documents and information
* School Website: could be linked to the school’s main website, and maintained by each department, sports team, clubs and activities to keep up-to-date
(Richardson, 2006, pp. 21-26).
As part of this professional development, I would ask for regular feedback from teachers to tell me how they are using blogs in their teaching and learning. Those who are comfortable could allow their use of blogs to be shown in staff meetings, which would be relevant and motivating for other staff to experience. Eventually, the use of blogs could be showcased by linking them to the school’s web page, or the school library’s web site. Information about the school’s successful uses with new technologies can be shared with the community through school newsletters.
Kadijevich, D. (2006). Achieving educational technology standards: The relationship between student teacher's interest and institutional support offered. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22. p. 437-443
Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Corwin Press: Thousand Oakes, CA.