Trainers’ Corner: Why EdTech Professional Development Shouldn’t Be a One-time Event

Incorporating new technology in the classroom can be intimidating to say the least. One of the most difficult transitions a teacher will likely make is replacing the way something has been done for years with new technology.

Fortunately, that’s where professional development can make all the difference. In fact, in a nationwide survey of more than 600 K-12 teachers, 46% of respondents said that they lacked the training needed to effectively integrate technology in the classroom.

Effective Professional Development for Integrating Technology in the Classroom
One of the most effective types of professional training for teachers to learn how to integrate technology into the classroom is actual hands-on training. Training that only includes lectures, PowerPoints or handouts have proved to be unsuccessful. It ends up being harder for the teachers to remember how to use the technology.

It’s important to receive training on technology that is very hands-on and geared up or down for the learners. A professional development course should be designed for both the tech guru who is really tech savvy as well as a learner who is a bit intimidated by technology. Training should challenge both types of people while offering patience and understanding of the technology newbies.

Ongoing Support and Available Resources for Integrating Technology
Support for integrating technology in the classroom shouldn’t stop after the professional development or training. It is necessary for the teacher to receive various forms of support to aid them in incorporating technology into their teaching. Fifty percent of K-12 teachers reported inadequate support when using technology, according to the digedu survey.

Many teachers find it hard and discouraging to change lesson plans to meet new technology standards or to accomplish various technology initiatives. Sometimes, there is lack of motivation or desire to want to change lesson plans because teachers know that their students are gaining the context and they’re getting it. The most effective support resources make it easier for teachers, in their very busy day, to recreate or redesign some of the lesson plans that have already been very effective lesson plans without technology integration.

Examples of technology integrated lesson plans that were once done with paper and pencil are now accomplishing those same goals using technology and have become some of the best resources teachers can receive. These examples can be references for teachers to turn to when they are ready to begin modifying their current lesson plans to incorporate new technology. It is easier for teachers to see the connection that goals can still be met by changing their form of delivery with real examples.

Regular Professional Development is Vital to Effective Technology Use
Professional development shouldn’t be a one-time event. Technology is always changing. There’s always something new. Districts should be prepared to take advantage of professional development every year in order to implement technology successfully in to the classroom.

Effective professional development, training and support will increase the acceptance of using new technology and the comfort level and excitement the teacher has for integrating the technology. In an ever-changing technology world, professional development needs to be there for the teachers so they can change right along with it.