Schools are starting to incorporate technology into the classroom now that it’s becoming a part of everyday life.
That process includes the creation of a technology integration specialist position to help teachers use technology in what they do and after-school professional development sessions that focus on the use of technology.
“Too often technology is something we do instead of the way we do something,” Palmer said. “We have to move from technology to transform the teaching and learning environment.”
E. Andreas Johansson, director of technology integration and curriculum for Kenston Schools, agrees that professional development for teachers is essential.
“There’s much less ‘sit and get’ type training sessions, and more ‘hands-on’ or self-directed training that is available for teachers whenever they want to engage,” he said.
“Outlets like Twitter and Massive Open Online Courses provide a variety of high energy, high-quality professional development activities and content, which are served right to a laptop or mobile device.”
A designated website created by the district makes multiple technological resources available to teachers at all times.
“By engaging in this new type of professional development, teachers promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility to their colleagues and students alike — a trait we want our young learners to pick up on, and embrace, themselves,” Johansson said.
Teachers in Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools are refining and honing in on their technology skills at the in-district Any Place Learning Space Academy.
“The idea is to work with teachers to help them understand the technology better and to understand how to use it in their classrooms,” said Damien Leibold, the professional development consultant who oversees APLSA.
“I would say that probably more than half my time is on support. We’re constantly there helping them through the year.”
Leibold said teachers come to him every day with some new program or idea they want to try, adding he’s impressed with how much time educators are investing in learning the new technology.
Getting students the technology
Technology in today’s classrooms is vastly different from even just 10 years ago.
“Now, students carry around more computer power in their front pocket than we had in the whole computer lab,” Leibold said. “Technology offers students more opportunities to get engaged with the things they are supposed to be learning.