Body

1. Be aware of your reluctant learners. Be sensitive to each learner and listen carefully to his or her beliefs and needs. Try to refrain from judgment. Realize that change takes time and is different for everyone.

2. Keep it real. Develop all learning opportunities around projects, standards, and goals. Technology becomes more personal and real to teachers if they can see it in context and as part of their curriculum.

3. Get your administrators on board. Don't limit professional growth opportunities to the teachers in your schools. Successful programs have supportive administrators.

4. Don't touch the mouse. Explain the processes and act as a "guide on the side"
when new or reluctant learners are trying out technology skills. Resist the temptation to step in and show them how to do it.

5. Form study groups. Follow up professional development sessions with small study groups that meet weekly, allowing participants to develop the shared language and common understanding necessary for acquiring new knowledge and skills. Larger study groups from different schools can hold monthly meetings-face-to-face or virtually-focusing on shared interests or projects.

6. Provide other opportunities for team work. Teachers tend to be isolated in their classrooms, unaware of what is happening even in the classroom next door. Encourage teachers of the same grade level or subject area to develop curriculum collaboratively.

7. Establish mentors. Identify teachers, students, and curriculum specialists who can mentor faculty in their classrooms, during prep times, or after school, thus helping to model good technology-supported instruction and offering feedback and advice on a variety of topics.

8. Support the mentors. Provide each mentor with a coach who can observe, plan, model, and provide feedback on his or her projects and leadership skills-both on-site and online.

9. Use technology to nurture the learning community. A variety of online discussions, activities, and resources can be used to encourage ongoing conversation about issues raised during professional development sessions.

10. Vary the tools for online professional development. Asynchronous tools such as threaded discussions, e-mail forums, and Web archives are easy for most learners to use and offer the scheduling flexibility busy educators need for "anytime anywhere" learning. On the other hand, synchronous exchanges-including online chat, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and collaborative workspaces-work well for certain group assignments or virtual meetings such as debates, town hall events, and "meet the expert" interviews.

11. Don't rush online learning. Working entirely online is new and uncomfortable for most of us. Online communities will dissolve if there is nobody to facilitate them and to help build the feeling of community. Combine online learning and face-to-face meetings, especially at first, so that people can get to know one another and build a mutual set of goals.

12. Market your professional development. Teachers are so busy, they may not realize that what you are offering is exactly what they need. Create "FYI" memos that you send by e-mail, put flyers in their inboxes, create an electronic mailing list to promote upcoming events, and follow up with a phone call to confirm your coaching sessions.
13. Say cheese. Videotape all staff development activities for assessment and feedback. Videos can also be used as automatic portfolios. Individual frames can be captured digitally to use in teacher portfolios or on a Web site.

14. Show what's available. Make sure teachers are aware of available and emerging technologies that could support them in the classroom or for personal productivity. Include "Technology Moments" at staff meetings where a device, a program, or a project can be demonstrated to the staff.

15. Build a library of resources. Develop a technology binder, Web site, or video collection with sample lessons, support materials, tips, and practical ideas.

16. Offer just-in-time tutorials. So that your teachers can have what they need at their fingertips when they need it, create or use existing step-by-step how-to tutorials in print, videotape, or online.

17. Make yourself available. Use e-mail and personal visits to check in with the educators you coach or mentor.

18. Create summer learning experiences. Provide summer institutes, when teachers have the time for hands-on experiences, and encourage sharing, playing, experimenting, and learning.

19. Aim for the right ratios. Coaching teachers works best if the ratio is 1-to-1 or, at the most, 3-to-1. The smaller the group, the easier it is for the mentor or coach to focus in on the learner's needs. Workshops work best if the ratio is no more than 15 learners per trainer, preferably under 12-to-1.

20. Share what works. Have teachers create electronic portfolios of work, ideas, and reflections to share in study groups. Help them show off their most successful projects and approaches. Put on a showcase and post it to a Web site for everyone to see.

By Judy Salpeter
From Technology & Learning




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