I was reading Patrick Ledesma’s Ed Week blog – Personalized Learning Requires Effective Teaching First, Technology Second – and it struck a personal note with me.
One of the most powerful comments ever made to me during my initial years in education was by a veteran principal who said to me, “It is hard to put kids in an institution (i.e., school) and not institutionalize them.” This comment summed up for me the ongoing challenge educators have in teaching students: How to focus on individual and group needs at the same time.
Technology, in some ways, has only added to this challenge. A truckload of iPads for teachers who are not given the in-depth and embedded support to use them as powerful tools will simply resort to their use as a “filler” when needed. Research is clear that the most useful teacher professional development (i.e., that which leads to student learning) has to be embedded, collaborative, and over time. I do not believe spending two hours and teaching teachers how to use an iPad constitutes meaningful professional development for teachers. Meaningful PD means supporting teachers in figuring out how to use technology as a seamless part of their daily practice. For example, if teachers are using formative assessment practices in classrooms, how can he or she have students utilize iPads to show their understanding of a concept? Remember, overheads were supposed to revolutionize teaching too.
Photo Credit to kjarret and thebarrowboy