Using technology to engage in professional development and Leadership
Professional development is an organized learning opportunity generally available in all domains to improve skills and knowledge. Some professional development is required but often it is sought after for personal improvement or career advancement. There are many approaches to professional development and therefore they can range widely in length of time, learning experience format, philosophy and content.
The annotated list of articles available on this website offer expertise and research about professional development in educational technology and organizational leadership. Most of the articles are related to improving teacher educational technology skills and best practice integration in classrooms.
A number of the research articles reinforce that having teachers learn a new technical skill is entirely different from having them learn how to teach effectively with technology. We are reminded that the focus cannot be on the technology itself, since the tools are always changing. So instead professional development must focus on competencies, standards, improving lesson plans and other pedagogically sound measures for best use of new skills and integration in the classroom. Several articles reference research by ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education, and offer an overview of successful professional development (PD) practices in educational technology for teachers. [Borthwick, A., & Pierson, M. (Eds.) (2008); King, K. P. (2002).]
A critical follow-up to this type focus on pedagogically based educational technology professional development, is the research that suggests 1) measuring actual outcomes is the true test of quality PD, 2) that coaches who work with teachers on effectively instructing students have a greater confidence and competence and 3) that professional development can lead to higher self-efficacy which in turn showed higher student achievement. Connections have been demonstrated improving teacher knowledge and skills, but it is important to consider the implications of PD on student achievement. Quality and comprehensive professional development and coaches were more successful than “one shot technology workshops. [Martin, W. et al. (2010); Sugar, W. (2005); Watson, G. (2006).]
Another article specifically focuses on how to address the new Common Core into an existing professional development program by integrating technology in a framework that would be most useful in the planning stages for Common Core implementation. [Cosmah, M., & Saine, P. (2013).]
As noted above, there are many types of professional development. One research study evaluated mandated online professional development (in a rural area) and found teachers’ reported online engagement and the content learned very valuable. Researcher noted that online PD has many benefits and offers a positive alternative to traditional PD. [Summerville, J., & Johnson, C. S. (2006).]
A Project for the Summer Hybrid MAET program at Michigan State University compiled by Daniel L., Leslie L., Nichole P., and Dale W.