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THE NEW MEDIA CENTER: Real Staff Development and … YOU

By Mary Alice Anderson - Posted May 1, 2011
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A media specialist stuck the following sticky note to his computer monitor:

Hooking up laptop and projector

Connecting my iPod to the soundboard in the auditorium

Google Docs


Downloading and using the videos in the online encyclopedias

Basic photo editing

Managing email

Creating a PDF

Clearing/emptying cache/history/Brower refresh

What’s Teacher Tube?

The list’s title: Real Staff Development.

When it comes right down to it, teachers aren’t afraid or unable to learn; they are busy and often too frazzled to remember how or what. Too often, the obvious and necessary training about the basics get lost in “big picture” training about “big ticket” items such as cloud computing, data mining, or learning how to use a new online testing system. Teachers who have 40 or more students in a class need refreshers in how to sort and retrieve their email or easily access available resources. Teachers who have forgotten the passwords for at-home database access want to help their students succeed.

They need student-centered, real staff development. They want to know how to enable right-click on their Apple mouse so they can efficiently use the data and management tools they have to use and move on to using integrating technology.

Take, for example, the media specialist who not long ago asked LM_NET members for ideas about hands-on professional development for teachers. She noted, “I especially want to help the teachers learn the ways students can use technology, not just teachers.” She wanted to expand her list of devices to include minilaptops, document cameras, and flip video cameras. “This is NOT a very tech-savvy group of teachers I will be working with,” she wrote. Again, she’s looking for student-centered, real staff development.

Who Knows What About Technology

Here’s more proof of the need: Ed Tech magazine reported the results of a brief survey of 1,000 students and teachers.

Only 9% of students say tech is fully integrated in their classrooms.

Six of 10 students say teachers regularly use technology to teach, but only 26% said they are encouraged to use it throughout the day.

53% of teachers said they don’t conduct, or are unsure if they conduct, any of their classes in a 21 st-century classroom.

While nearly all students use technology at home to complete assignments, the technologies they use in their personal lives are largely absent from the classroom.

Students lead their teachers in using next-generation technology for educational use.

Mary Ann Bell shared similar find-ings in surveys she conducted. Bell’s findings were published in previous issues of this magazine and are cited at the end of this article.

Sound unusual or unbelievable? After all, journals, mass media, and school districts themselves share information about the wonderful opportunities students have to use technology. We share the highlights and successes in our blogs, journal articles, and conference presentations. But there is still only limited technology integration and limited knowledge of how to effectively use technology in the classroom. I am reminded of this by teachers and media specialists from small and large districts all over the country when they share what’s happening in their schools as part of the discussion in an online class I teach. (See Teaching with Primary Sources, http:
// A Texas media specialist in that class recently wrote, “If I don’t jumpstart the use of Inspiration, in spite of it being on every computer in the district, it won’t get used. I don’t understand it. When I train teachers and students on its uses, they’ll think of a dozen of situations to use it. They just never use it that I’m aware of.” Anecdotes such as this affirm the data reported in the surveys.

Real Staff Development: A Role for YOU!


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-to-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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