There's a professional development theme to some of the content of this issue that I'll get to in a moment. But in terms of professional development, I can't pass up my last opportunity, in print at least, to mention our Internet@Schools West conference in Monterey, California. It's coming up in November: November 15 and 16, to be precise. Two days, four tracks: The Web: What's New Out There Now?; Adding Value Through the LMC—How to Get Everyone on Board; Technology & Its Fallout—Helping Students & Teachers Cope; and Ramping Up Research Skills.
November/December author Robert Lackie ("Free and Fee-Based Online Science Resources for the K-12-Community," pp. 10+, with Robert Congleton) will be presenting, along with Gary Price of ResourceShelf.com fame, Debbie Abilock of KnowledgeQuest and NoodleTools fame, Dr. Mary Ann Bell, and lots of others. I can't think of a better professional development opportunity than listening to and interacting with them and other colleagues at this event. If you can make last-minute plans, then the place to start is http://www.infotoday.com/Internet@Schools/default.shtml.
Back to this issue's content: We went looking for separate stories on assessment and data analysis on the one hand and professional development on the other, and, interestingly, ended up with articles that point to a sort of convergence of the two. We found two authors whose organizations are pushing the envelope in the use of technology and data to improve student achievement by—among other ways—improving the focus and effectiveness of schools' and districts' professional development.
Bruce Goldberg of professional development provider Co-nect writes of a U.S. Department of Education-funded project Co-nect is leading to ultimately "provide districts with the tools to make data-driven decisions about the types of professional development that are most effective in improving instructional practice and raising student achievement." Beyond using student demographic and assessment data, the 3-year project is using perceptual, instructional practice, and professional development data—all of which are defined and explained in the article. See Goldberg's "Data Driven Professional Development" (pp. 2425) for more.
And Allan Olson of the Northwest Evaluation Association, writing about taking data compilation to another level, notes: "Just as technology provides the data that enable schools to adjust curriculum to student needs, it also informs adjustments to professional development. ..." Olson's article, "Assessment, Student Achievement, and Technology That Moves Schools Forward," starts on page 26.
David Hoffman, Editor