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Encouraging Teacher Technology UseTeacher surveys indicate that about half of U.S. teachers usetechnology in classroom ins...
We know that figures dont lie, but they can be deceptive.In fact, it appears that technology use varies greatly from     n...
"The students at Pierce Primary School, where I teach, are currently using Accelerated Reader totest reading comprehension...
"In our school, teachers are required to implement technology in a variety of ways," Timmonssaid. "Math and English teache...
"We also have a committee of teachers which provides technical support to the school, and allteachers have a tech buddy. D...
"As part of that effort," Wagner noted, "our school offers online courses in Microsoft Word,PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and...
"At one point," Hutchinson added, "our district offered after-school and summer training, whichparticipants were paid a st...
A LACK OF RESOURCES"Our district encourages technology use by teachers, but not in any substantive way," said highschool s...
"In 1996, District 108 in Pekin, Illinois, received a $5 million Technology Innovation ChallengeGrant from the U.S. Depart...
"The district I work in had a wonderful start to encouraging teacher technology use several yearsago, when we were awarded...
"Again, staff members who want to learn to use technology either depend on help from theirpeers, learn it on their own, or...
"In addition," Smith said, "we are considering adding an online help-desk form that date/timestamps requests; providing ha...
Reading, Massachusetts            * Lori Sanborn, K-5 technology specialist, Rancho Las Positas            School, Livermo...
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Encouraging teacher technology use

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Transcript of "Encouraging teacher technology use"

  1. 1. Encouraging Teacher Technology UseTeacher surveys indicate that about half of U.S. teachers usetechnology in classroom instruction. That use, however, variesgreatly from school to school. In some schools, staff technologyuse nears 100 percent; in others, it is virtually non-existent. Tofind out why, we asked the Education World Tech Team howtheir schools encourage -- or discourage -- staff technology use.Included: Tips for encouraging staff technology use.In spite of a widespread public perception that technology use is common in our nations schools,surveys indicate that only about half of U.S. teachers use technology in classroom instruction.Anecdotal evidence obtained from school technology specialists and education technologyproponents indicates that the effective use of education technology is even less common thanthose surveys indicate. Many teachers, the experts say, still are reluctant to use technology,mostly because of a lack of time, a lack of resources, or a lack of confidence in their ability touse the available technology. Tips for Encouraging Teacher Technology Use Robin Smith, an educational technology specialist for the Hollidaysburg (Pennsylvania) Area School District, offers this advice for those encouraging technology use among their schools staff: * Get support from the top. If your superintendent does not support the push to use technology, and does not use technology himself or herself, it is a hard sell to other employees. * Make sure you are pushing the district vision and not your own personal agenda. * Principals need to use technology and support their teachers with extra staff development if
  2. 2. We know that figures dont lie, but they can be deceptive.In fact, it appears that technology use varies greatly from necessary.school to school. In some schools, technology use amongteachers nears 100 percent; in other schools, it is virtually * Expect bumps in the road. Somenon-existent. We wondered, therefore, what those schools things you expect to be a hugewith high technology use are doing to encourage their success at getting teachers hooked,teachers to use technology -- for instruction, and for end up flopping.classroom and task management. To find out, we went toour experts -- the members of the Education World Tech * Provide some sort of incentives.Team. * Show them how it will save time.We asked the following questions: Are teachers at your If the savings wont be apparent forschool expected to meet certain levels of technology a year, be honest about that. Puttingproficiency? What kind of resources do your tech assignments into a grade bookspecialists provide? What kind of equipment and training program is extra work, but if thoseare available to teachers? In other words, how does your assignments can be saved and usedschool encourage -- or discourage -- staff technology use? next year, it will be a time saver.This is what they told us! * Remember, most teachers are very busy; theyre already jugglingSTRONG INCENTIVES many tasks. Try to make things as easy as possible, and provide them"Teachers here in Fort Knox (Kentucky) are encouraged with time to learn the technologyto use technology in several different ways," educational before expecting them to use it.technologist Stacey J. Wyatt told Education World. "Firstof all, each staff member (including cafeteria staff,teaching assistants, custodians, and so on) has his or her own e-mail address. We receive a dailye-mail news bulletin that includes important information, and all staff members are expected toread it every morning. We have telephones in each classroom, but most of our communicationnow is conducted through e-mail. A major benefit is that we have been able to almost eliminateinterruptions from the intercom system."Our school server provides another incentive for teachers to use technology," Wyatt noted."Each class has a folder on the server, and each class folder includes individual folders forstudents. Any work done in the lab or in the classroom can be saved to those folders, whichmakes it easy for students to access their work from most places in the school. Teachers candownload templates, clip art, hotlists, and so on, for easy and safe access by students."Our teachers also use the Win School program to maintain student information," Wyatt said."Teachers have received training in both programs. Our progress report program also is done bycomputer."Each school in the district has a Web site maintained by the schools educational technologists,"Wyatt noted. "Teachers e-mail to the Ed Tech site information they want posted, which makes iteasy to copy and paste the information into FrontPage. Parents also frequently access the site forbreakfast and lunch menus, special events, and so on.
  3. 3. "The students at Pierce Primary School, where I teach, are currently using Accelerated Reader totest reading comprehension," Wyatt added. "Teachers use the report component of that programto track student progress."Weve also purchased Kidspiration and Inspiration for our building, and teachers are learning touse those programs right along with the kids," Wyatt added. "In some cases, the kids are teachingthe teachers! What an incentive for those students!"Finally," Wyatt said, "each teacher in our building has completed a technology-needsassessment, which is used to develop a plan for personal growth. Each teacher also maintains atechnology portfolio and uses it to organize their Web sites, show evidence of technologyactivities in the classroom, store training handouts, and so on."I have been the educational technologist at this school for about four years," Wyatt noted, "and Ihave seen a great deal of growth. Teachers are at various stages of development, of course, butthey are great about offering to help one another whenever they can."LOTS OF SUPPORT"Teachers in our division in Lynchburg, Virginia, are well supported in their technology needs,"said instructional technology specialist Julia Timmons. "Our division has 16 schools and severalmagnet sites. Each school has a full-time instructional technology specialist, and the division hasan additional five-person technical staff. Our school division also is partnered with our citygovernment to jointly maintain and fund our own fiber optic network."We have e- mail for the entire division," Timmons noted. "E-mail cannot be accessed fromhome, but it can be accessed from anywhere in the division, sent to any address on the Net, andsent between school and home. We have had e-mail for about ten years and rely heavily on it.Teachers are expected to check their e-mail several times a day. The entire division -- from thesuperintendent to teacher assistants and secretaries -- uses this communication vehicle as well."The state of Virginia has Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel, which will becomepart of our licensure requirements in the spring of 2004," Timmons said. "At that point, if ateacher is not technology certified, he or she will not get a teaching license renewal. Eachdivision is responsible for developing its own method for certification and for having thatmethod approved by the state. Teachers in our division have two years from the time ofemployment to complete the standards."To satisfy state requirements for certification, our division has developed what we fondly referto as the Peach Booklet," Timmons added. "That is a guide to assist teachers in achieving thegoal of technology certification. The technology specialists in each building offer trainingsessions several times annually. Individual, small group, and large group sessions are offered. Inaddition, training is offered online through our Intranet, so teachers can work on their own time.A portfolio is developed and completed by each teacher.
  4. 4. "In our school, teachers are required to implement technology in a variety of ways," Timmonssaid. "Math and English teachers are required to use the computer lab at least three days everysix weeks. All classrooms have five computers and teachers are required to keep a log of theircomputer use. Each classroom has a large screen monitor, and teachers are required todemonstrate at least bi-monthly use of that device. Teachers also are required to demonstrate theeffective use of technology in one of the annual lessons their primary evaluator observes."We also offer a variety of other training opportunities," Timmons added. "Each technologyspecialist offers training specific to the technology, software, and needs of the staff in his or herbuilding. Several times a year, we publish a calendar of workshops available to teachers in thedivision at any school in the division. Those workshops are generally two hours in duration andinclude stipend payment through grant funds."Teachers also are required to post a basic Web page on their schools Web site," Timmonsnoted. "We create those pages using a uniform template. This year, we have a dedicatedWebmaster for the division, who maintains the Web site and is our building level contact fortraining and help."I am fortunate to be a full-time technology specialist," Timmons told Education World. "My jobresponsibilities are vast, however, and I struggle to have time to support lesson integration anddevelopment. My most effective means of assisting teachers is teaming with them to developlessons and ideas into integrated technology lessons. Often, I model the resulting lesson for oneor two periods, and then change roles and support the teacher while he or she teaches the lesson.Sometimes, I am there to assist; other times, I teach special techniques to students. Often, I am afacilitator, gathering information, videos, Web sites, and tools for teachers to use in theclassroom. More and more, teachers know what they want, but find it difficult to find the time togather materials.""My principal and staff are very supportive of technology," Rancho Las Positas School K-5technology specialist Lori Sanborn told Education World. "Each middle and high school in ourdistrict has a full-time technology specialist and each elementary school has a half-time techspecialist. They maintain and repair computers, as well as encourage and promote technologyuse in classroom and lab settings. Once or twice a week, each grade 1-5 class comes to thecomputer lab, where the technology specialist is available to assist the teacher with instruction.At that time, teachers also can get one-on-one training while students are engaged in their lesson."All classrooms have Internet access and teachers have in-school e-mail," Sanborn noted. "Thereis no expected level of tech proficiency, but all teachers are trained to use e-mail and use it daily.Most day-to-day communication is done via e-mail. Our school also has a Web site and teacherse-mail addresses are posted on it to encourage communication with parents and the community."Some teachers have created their own Web pages, where they post homework, field tripinformation, school events, and class schedules. As a technology specialist," Sanborn said, "Iprovide monthly after-school tech training for teachers; the training gives teachers theopportunity to ask questions and learn new skills.
  5. 5. "We also have a committee of teachers which provides technical support to the school, and allteachers have a tech buddy. During grade level articulations, teachers share with one anothersuccessful lessons that integrate technology into the curriculum," Sanborn added.MAKING IT EASY"The most important thing my district does to encourage teacher use is to assign each school atechnology resource teacher (TRT) to work directly in the classrooms," Lexington, Kentucky,district technology resource teacher Mike Johnson told Education World."The TRTs model lessons with kids, find online resources for teachers, show teachers how touse equipment, provide one-on-one training during planning time, and so on. Some schools havehired theyre own full-time TRTs; others share one TRT among three or four schools. Onereason the program has been so successful is that teachers dont have to go to after-schooltraining sessions or figure out technology activities on their own. The TRTs find the teachers,ask what theyre doing in their classroom, and work with them to integrate technology intoexisting lessons."The TRTs also develop a variety of online resources that teachers can use in their classrooms,"Johnson added. "Those include our Literary Book Club and Technology Assisting LiteracyKnowledge (TALK) program."A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT"As the technology integrator at our K-5 elementary school, I am in charge of teaching teachersand administrators, if necessary, to use computers," Linda George of the Dondero School toldEducation World. "I currently teach workshops on many subjects, including digital camera use,scanning, using the mobile lab, e-mail basics, and so on."All our teachers have e-mail addresses, teacher notices are distributed by e-mail, and ourprincipal sends out notices by e-mail only. That incentive is sabotaged, however, by teachers andaides who run off copies for those teachers who choose not to use e-mail," George noted."Although teachers are not expected to meet any specific levels of technology proficiency,"George continued, "they are required to accompany their classes to each computer lab session,and lessons in the lab must integrate with what they are doing in their classrooms."Our school also has a Web site, and teachers contribute to it if they choose to; however, no oneis required to do so. The Web site is attached to the citys Web site, so no teacher has tocontribute if they dont want to," George added."Currently, we have no classroom technology requirements," Crossroads Christian Schoolcomputer coordinator Jennifer Wagner told Education World, "and teachers are not required toshow that they use technology. However, with a new administration this year, I believe standardsfor technology use will increase. In the meantime, all we can do is encourage teachers to usetechnology.
  6. 6. "As part of that effort," Wagner noted, "our school offers online courses in Microsoft Word,PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and Publisher, and in e-mail use. Teachers who complete a six-session course receive a stipend."A year ago, our entire faculty attended a one-day seminar on the use of computers in theclassroom," Wagner added. "Our school also hosts a yearly one-day seminar for schooltechnologists demonstrating the use of various computer programs. This year we are spotlightingMicrosoft Word and Access, as well as Kidspiration and Inspiration."Crossroads Christian School and JenuineTech.com also host four online projects per year,which teachers are encouraged to get involved in," Wagner said. "Activities to help teachers usetechnology in the classroom are provided at the project sites. In addition, several teachers havecreated their own Web pages, and they receive a stipend for keeping their sites currentthroughout the year. Each of those teachers is encouraged to teach one other teacher how tocreate and maintain a Web page."During the 2002-2003 school year, we installed Accelerated Reader on all our classroomcomputers," Wagner added. "Teachers are encouraged to use the program, and we have takenthe time to print lists of available tests and to mark the library books for which we have quizzes."There is, however, a continual struggle to get teachers to see that technology use will not maketheir days more stressful; that in many ways, it will make their jobs easier," Wagner noted. "Thatwould be easier, of course, if we had more computers in each classroom. Right now, teachers saythey cannot fit every student into a one-week period for computer use. If we had morecomputers, that would be possible!"It is my belief," Wagner said, "that until our board and administration state in no-uncertainterms that teachers must demonstrate technology use, our staffs technology use will not change.As new staff comes on, hopefully they will enjoy the use of technology and encourage others tosee its benefits!"A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT IS NOT ENOUGH"All teachers and support staff in our district have e-mail addresses and e-mail accounts," saidLincoln High School social studies teacher Michael Hutchinson. "Weekly bulletins and otherteacher information are provided via e-mail. Each school has a Web page, which, in my building,is maintained by the schools Web design class; most teachers dont develop their own pages. Isuspect many teachers are intimidated by the thought of building a Web page; others dont thinkthey have enough information to merit their own page."Personally, Ive used Web pages to post an online resume, to provide project resources forstudent, and to store student projects for download," Hutchinson noted. "That way, if a studentloses paperwork for a project or if a parent wants information about a project, the resources areavailable. Examples of some of the project pages Ive created include The Modern Presidency,Project Resources, and Resources for Civil War Projects.
  7. 7. "At one point," Hutchinson added, "our district offered after-school and summer training, whichparticipants were paid a stipend to attend, as well as training during the school day, for whichparticipants got professional leave time. Teachers generally did not take advantage of eitheropportunity, however."I suspect that the lack of teacher participation was due in part to lack of time," Hutchinson said."In addition, it seemed as though training focused mainly on the basics, with relatively littletraining for advanced topics. I also would have liked to have seen more training geared towardwhat teachers specifically wanted to learn...for example, did they want to build Web pages? Didthey want to learn Power Point? Did they want to use Excel?"I think teachers also felt that the stipend (less than $12 per hour) was relatively small comparedto what their time was worth," said Hutchinson. "As a teacher who trained other teachers, I waspaid exactly the same stipend as class participants, even though I had to prepare the trainingmaterials and, if the session was held during the school day, get materials ready for a substituteas well."Perhaps more teachers would embrace technology if they knew they would be rewarded forusing it -- versus being punished for not using it," Hutchinson noted. "Why not reward teacherswho use technology by providing them with better equipment, software, and so on, as they showan increased interest and proficiency? That doesnt address the problem of what to do aboutteachers who simply refuse to use technology, of course, and Im not quite sure how to deal withthat. One possible idea is to ask local businesses to donate prizes to teachers who show aninterest, and develop a proficiency, in technology use. (For example, a teacher who increases hisor her technology use or proficiency in some way might get a $10 coupon from a localrestaurant, a free movie ticket, or $5 free gas.) Local businesses could look at it as a communityservice and advertising, and teachers might be more motivated to use technology.""Our school doesnt require staff e-mail use, but it does strongly encourage it, and everyone hasan e-mail address," said Stew Pruslin, a third grade teacher at T.J. Hood School. "Personally,however, I prefer to stick with my AOL e-mail, and I think it will be hard to get everyone on onesystem. I know many teachers in the school system use our districts e-mail, but many othersdont. Some teachers are still not Internet-savvy, and a number of them never will be inclined tobe.""Sadly, my school has not put any force into encouraging technology use," Alexander FlemingMiddle School computer instructor Sith Nip told Education World. "We -- the tech geeks -- haveencouraged teachers to ask questions and learn to use available software, but only a few haveshown any desire to learn. We do help, and teach those who want to learn, but we aredisappointed that so few actually care about the technology we have. Instead of trying to learn touse technology, many teachers only come to us when they are in immediate need of help."I have also noticed that many teachers who are unfamiliar with technology are scared of it," Nipsaid. "They know technologys capabilities, but are afraid theyll destroy it if they dont use itcorrectly. Until our school provides mandatory training workshops, I dont know how we canencourage teachers to use technology."
  8. 8. A LACK OF RESOURCES"Our district encourages technology use by teachers, but not in any substantive way," said highschool science teacher Wauseon High School John Tiffany. "An inexpensive piece of equipmentI ordered took a year and a half to arrive! Teacher notices and announcements are distributed bye-mail, but teachers can request a hard copy if they dont choose to use e-mail. We do have adistrict Web site and teachers are encouraged to develop their own Web pages. Some have; mosthave not. The technology department does provide aid in the form of a help line, which theyrespond to; but sometimes those responses are limited."Access to technology also makes its use easier," Tiffany noted. "Until computers are madeavailable for most students, teachers cannot be expected to utilize technology-based activities.There are a lot of activities I would like to do, but I am unable to do so because of a lack ofresources."A receptive technology department also is key to implementing technology and expectingteachers to use it," Tiffany added. "Nothing is more frustrating than being forced to go through alot of red tape to get help or equipment.""Some teachers are reluctant to use technology," Tiffany noted. "If schools really want toencourage technology use, they shouldnt give teachers the option of receiving hard copies of e-mail notices. All teachers should have Web pages and keep them updated. It shows acommitment by the whole system when that occurs.""Every one of our classrooms has a computer for the teachers use," said high school webmasterFred Holmes of the Osceola Public Schools. "Teachers use them for creating tests, carrying oncorrespondence, and so on. They are not required to use them, however. Our biggest problem isthat, although many teachers want to use computers for classroom instruction, we dont have away to display computer information to a classroom full of students. We only have one LCDprojector for the entire school district -- and it is a used one! I use it for computer instruction, andone of our science teachers uses it to teach anatomy, but it is difficult to schedule its use aroundeveryones needs."Our teachers have made the most improvement in their [level of ] use of computer labs forInternet access," Holmes noted. "They bring in students to look up information for class and tocreate individual presentations. Here again, however, we run into a problem of scheduling."Our service unit has provided excellent in-service sessions and training for teachers, but manyteachers find reasons not to use technology in the classroom. We also have encouraged teachersto create their own Web pages on our home site, but usually it is left to one of the advancedcomputer classes to create pages for the teachers. Getting teachers to use computers whiledealing with a lack of funds and follow-up opportunities can be frustrating!"A GOOD START PAYS OFF
  9. 9. "In 1996, District 108 in Pekin, Illinois, received a $5 million Technology Innovation ChallengeGrant from the U.S. Department of Education, because of the districts vision and groundwork inthe area of technology," teacher and school webmaster Madeleine Decker told Education World."As a result of that grant, teachers received laptops, docks, and training."Our districts Pilot Program was underway then," Decker remembered. "(Although theprograms Web page looks pretty crude today, I still use the photographs in the Monitor/VideoSplitter section to hook up my monitor in the fall.) So each classroom teacher, after completingthe Pilot Program training, received five networked student stations for his or her classroom."A Tech Academy also was established with some of the grant money," Decker added, "andcourses in Netscape, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word and were offered to teachers after school andin the summer. Those courses were free and resulted in advancement on the salary schedule. Inthe early stages of the grant, we also had Webminers -- teachers who were paid to find greatsites and e-mail them to the rest of the staff."Today," Decker noted, "the laptops have been retired, and all teachers have new Omni Techdesktop computers. The aged laptops were too expensive to replace and their upkeep requiredabout 90 percent of our tech supports time."All communication now is through e-mail," said Decker, "although occasionally we will get ahard copy as well. Each teacher has an e-mail account and is expected to check it frequently.Most messages from the district office arrive via e-mail."Courses are still offered free of charge, and they earn continuing professional development units(CPDUs) or advancement on the salary schedule," Decker said. "The Tech Center offers after-school sessions on Web pages, basic Windows administration, hardware, and Excel. We alsohave extended courses. I recently took a District Integrating Technology course that met forseven, four-hour sessions. It was excellent and had a waiting list!"Our Tech Center also provides many online tutorials -- on everything from converting Word toPDF to using Photoshop," Decker added. "The Pekin Public Schools Technology page is just asmall branch of a fantastic Web site maintained by two young men who started out working onthe site when they were in eighth grade. Today, one is a senior in high school and the other is afreshman in college. We also have had school Webmasters since about 1997; they each have adigital camera to record school events. In 1998, our schools Web site won a Cool School of theWeek Award from Education World!"Teachers are encouraged to submit material to their schools Web site and to maintain LearningVillage Web pages for their classes," Decker said. "Those pages are easy to maintain and canhost such items as the spelling list of the week, a calendar of events, the student of the week, andso on. Some teachers print the pages and use them as a classroom newsletter."A GOOD START IS NOT ENOUGH
  10. 10. "The district I work in had a wonderful start to encouraging teacher technology use several yearsago, when we were awarded several Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF) and TEACHgrants. Those monies were used to set up a very successful technology mentoring program, inwhich trained lead teachers worked with individuals and teams of teachers," RichardsElementary School fourth grade teacher Mary Kreul told Education World."Teachers were encouraged to use technology in useful ways for themselves and with theirstudents -- through e-mail, listservs, telecollaborative projects, and so on. They were able to takeafter school and summer sessions on a wide variety of technologies -- basic e-mail use,bookmarking, software use, hardware trouble shooting, and integrating technology into thecurriculum," Kreul noted. "Some sessions were held during paid work time, others fulfilled staffdevelopment requirements or earned college credits."When the funding sources were no longer available, however, other programs became higherpriorities, and when staff turnover occurred, many of those opportunities were no longeravailable," Kreul said. "Problems over the past few years -- such as the network being down forup to six weeks at a time, e-mail that did not function, limited lab time, and so on -- have madethe idea of using technology very discouraging for staff members, especially those just beginningto become comfortable with technology."Teachers have district e-mail addresses, and some correspond regularly with building anddistrict staff, parents, and peers in other districts. However, teacher notices usually are notdistributed via e-mail," Kreul noted."Teacher training also has been minimal over the past few years; the focus has been on software,rather than on integrating technology into the curriculum or on teachers using technologyprofessionally. When the district got a new e-mail program last fall, teachers were required toattend a short demonstration, but were given no hands-on training or practice in actually usingthe new program. Staff members have to depend on one another for support and resources. In ourschool," Kreul said, "we have a wonderful and overworked media center staff and a very helpfulpart-time tech support person -- but they cannot provide enough support to build and maintain aconsistent program."The district Web page -- with all schools included -- was a flourishing site several years ago,used frequently by teachers, students, and parents," Kreul said. "However, due to administrativedecisions made along the way, it is no longer a resource that is used regularly by the learningcommunity. Some teachers have their own Web pages at Geocities, SchoolNotes, or Quia, butthat is done independently by those staff members."One bright spot occurred last year when the school PTA provided funds to purchase digitalcameras for each grade level and for several specialists areas," Kreul noted. "Knowledgeablestaff members, along with a parent who is a photographer, taught several sessions on camera useand on integrating digital photography into the curriculum. The library media specialist held alsoseveral sessions for interested teachers this year on using the digital camera and scanner.
  11. 11. "Again, staff members who want to learn to use technology either depend on help from theirpeers, learn it on their own, or take courses online or at local sites," said Kreul. "Unfortunately,without the level of training and support they need, many teachers do not use technology to theiradvantage -- for grading, organizing lessons, searching for information, communicating with theeducation community, or in the classroom with their students."There is no expectation that staff members reach levels of proficiency or show growth in theirskills," Kreul added. "However, with the No Child Left Behind legislation and its expectation oftechnology use by students, that expectation may be changing.""We encourage technology use among our staff members in a number of different ways," saideducational technology specialist Robin Smith.  "We provide all teachers and administrators with an e-mail address for their professional use. Many notices from the superintendent down are sent via e-mail, so teachers have to log in regularly and check their accounts.  "We use an online conference request and Act 48 program from My Learning Plan, which requires teachers to log in and submit conference requests.  "My Learning Plan also allows us to put course descriptions of all in-house staff development sessions (technology and otherwise) on the system. Teachers also use the system to sign up for the training, which requires them to use technology to participate in any type of staff development.  "For the past several years, the district has provided a minimum of two contracted in- service days devoted to technology training.  "Our district used the Futurekids Professional Development Curriculum to train teachers and administrators on the basics of technology use.  "We have a three-year staff development plan that ends June 30, and we are in the process of writing a new plan. Teachers can see this plan anytime and know the direction our training will take. We make modifications on a yearly basis, as needed.  "The Hollidaysburg Area School District Web site was created using Schoolwires. Each school has its own Web pages on the site, and a team of teachers who work on those pages. Training is provided for all teachers who want to learn how to use the program. Teachers are not required to participate, but the number of teachers who are creating pages is increasing.  "We have a network specialist and two technicians who basically deal with hardware, network, and installation issues. We also have a lead teacher who works directly with K- 12 teachers in the district, helping them learn to use new programs and to integrate technology. My title is instructional technology specialist, and although I rarely have time for actual teacher training, I do provide a great deal of help-desk support over the phone.  "We provide short before- and after-school training for teachers on various computer programs available in their own buildings.  "We also provide training during the summer months. This year, the focus will be on integrating technology into the classroom. Now that teachers know the basics, we want them to begin to incorporate technology into their lessons.
  12. 12. "In addition," Smith said, "we are considering adding an online help-desk form that date/timestamps requests; providing hand-held devices for teachers who have large groups of students(physical education, music, and so on) to use to take attendance; and offering an Intel Teach tothe Future program for teachers who wish to be trainers. Those teachers then would becomemaster trainers and teach other teachers. In return, they would receive a laptop computer to useas long as they are in the district."I also would like to institute technology proficiency testing for prospective teachers to ensurethat new teachers know the basics of technology and are comfortable with using it before theyrehired," Smith said. "And I would like to provide laptops for every teacher. Until teachers haveaccess to machines 24/7, and develop a comfort level using them, curriculum integration is onlya dream. But those are ideas for the future!" Who Are They? The Education World Tech Team includes more than 50 dedicated and knowledgeable educational-technology professionals who have volunteered to contribute to occasional articles that draw on their varied expertise and experience. The following Tech Team members contributed to this article: * Madeleine Decker, sixth grade teacher and school webmaster, Washington Intermediate School, Pekin, Illinois * Linda George, technology integration specialist, Dondero School, Portsmouth New Hampshire * Fred Holmes, Lan Manager/Webmaster, Osceola Public Schools, Osceola, Nebraska * Michael Hutchison, high school social studies teacher, Lincoln High School, Vincennes, Indiana * Mary Kreul, fourth grade teacher, Richards Elementary School, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin * Mike Johnson, district technology resource teacher, Fayette County Public Schools, Lexington, Kentucky * Sith Nip, sixth-through-eighth grade introductory computer instructor, Alexander Fleming Middle School, Lomita, California * Stew Pruslin, third grade teacher, J. T. Hood School, North
  13. 13. Reading, Massachusetts * Lori Sanborn, K-5 technology specialist, Rancho Las Positas School, Livermore, California * Robin Smith, educational technology specialist, Hollidaysburg Area School District, Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania * John S. Tiffany, high school science teacher, Wauseon High School, Wauseon, Ohio * Julia Timmons, instructional technology specialist, Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation, Lynchburg, Virginia * Jennifer Wagner, computer coordinator, Crossroads Christian School, Corona, California * Stacey J. Wyatt, educational technologist, Pierce Primary School, Fort Knox, KentuckyArticle by Linda StarrEducation World®Copyright © 2009 Education World 02/12/2003 Updated 04/03/2009

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