ETPD Goals

(Each of the named goals below is linked to a collection of ETPD examples.)

Excerpted From:
Harris, J. (2008). One size doesn’t fit all: Customizing educational technology professional development, Part One: Choosing ETPD goals. Learning & Leading with Technology. 35(5), 18-23.

The goals for educational technology professional development (ETPD) sessions and programs are probably more often assumed than made conscious and explicit. As ETPD providers, we usually want to encourage and support teachers in using a wider variety of digital tools and resources in ever more effective ways of assisting students’ learning.  These are overall goals, however – end results that we strive to achieve continually, rather than goals for particular ETPD sessions, projects, or programs. To help us to better operationalize these end goals in terms of particular ETPD efforts, six more specific ETPD session or program goals can be considered.

Awareness and/or trial of specific tools or resources. Before most teachers are willing to integrate use of new tools or resources into their teaching, they need to recognize the relative advantages of doing so. Providing brief (10 – 15-minute) demonstration-and-explanation sessions of powerful, simple-to-use, readily available, but not yet well-known tools and techniques – for example, collaborative writing with wikis — at regularly occurring faculty meetings, teachers’ interests can be piqued. Following up on these awareness sessions with informal hands-on work sessions, either individually or in small groups, can help teachers to gain enough experience with particular tools/resources — and particular ways of using them instructionally – to convince them to try using them in their teaching. Continued on-site support as they experiment with new tools and techniques in their classrooms is essential to ensuring continued and productive use of new tools and ideas.

Curriculum integration in specific content areas. Once teachers feel that they have incorporated the use of some particular tools and resources in their teaching successfully – based upon their students’ reactions and learning successes – the specific goals for their educational technology professional development can be shifted to focus upon a broader collection of tools, resources, and instructional techniques. At this point, more pervasive curriculum integration becomes the primary ETPD goal, but to make the professional learning process feasible (and maximally motivating), it can focus upon a particular content area that an individual teacher-learner chooses. Often, the inspiration for the content areas teachers choose comes from a combination of the topics that they most enjoy (or are most challenged by) teaching – for example, statistical analysis or spelling — and the example tools or resources that the ETPD provider has been demonstrating during awareness sessions that are most captivating to the individual teacher – in this case, for example, InspireData or using CD-based educational dictionaries that suggest multiple, related spellings from which students must choose. In the case of this particular ETPD goal, instructional tools and resources are what change, rather than existing instructional practices.

Change in instructional practice, focusing upon specific techniques. Sometimes, the availability of instructionally rich resources and tools – such as primary source historical documents available on the Web or a set of graphing calculators purchased for a classroom – can support and inspire change in instructional practice through the introduction of specific, content-keyed, technology-supported pedagogical techniques. For this more pervasive change to occur and be sustained, however, most teachers must recognize clear advantages of and connections to students’ standards-based learning in using these less instructionally familiar tools and resources. Since with this ETPD goal teachers are asked to change their instructional methods more than with the previously described goal, the motivation here to continue to use these new tools and techniques must be stronger.

Curriculum and/or instructional reform. Reform goals are broader and more pervasive than the three ETPD goals described above, and are therefore also much more challenging to meet. Sometimes particular technologies are used as the agents of these reform efforts, such as shifting the venue for particular high school courses to online course management systems, or eliminating paper-based history textbooks and using multimedia resources instead. Typically, however, true curriculum or instructional reform is only assisted, rather than driven, by educational technologies, and decisions to undertake ETPD with reform-oriented goals must be made collaboratively by groups of teachers, administrators, and community members.

School organizational or cultural change. When reform goals extend beyond (and include) particular curriculum areas or instructional approaches, almost everything within the school or district is targeted for change, including the tools and resources that can support this dramatic shift. There are several such pervasive change efforts documented that have been assisted considerably with forward-thinking use of digital tools and resources, such as the reform efforts in Union City, New Jersey in the early 1990’s. The planning of particular ETPD sessions with goals to assist in such transformation is done as an integral part of this systemic, usually school- or district-wide change.

Social change beyond the school. District reform efforts in high-need communities are often realized with the assistance of significant community partnerships. In community-based efforts such as these, the use of digital tools and resources is just one of many aspects of the pervasive social change that is effected. The Children’s Aid Society, for example, is partnering long-term –for more than ten years — with 10 New York City schools, effective change in almost every aspect of community life that impacts and is impacted by schooling. Efforts such as these require significant resources and much collaboration among multiple professional, social, and community organizations and personnel – including ETPD providers.

EXAMPLES: ETPD Goals

Awareness and/or Trial of Specific Tools or Resources

“Ask the Techies” Online Tutorials

Atomic Learning Software Tutorials

Integrating Technology and Curriculum Workshop (Utah State Office of Education)

Utah Education Network Faculty Lounge

Curriculum Integration in Specific Content Areas

Mississippi e-Learning for Educators Initiative online courses:

Reading First: Supporting Early Reading Instruction with Technology

Strategies and Tools for Teaching the Writing Process

Differentiating Instruction to Accommodate Learning Styles

Instructional Approaches for Teachers of English Language Learners

PBS TeacherLine courses:

Making Comparisons with Data Analysis for Grades 6-8

The Concept of Function for Grades 9-12

Measurement: Surface Area and Volume in Grades 6-8

Measurement: Perimeter and Area in Grades 3-5

Change in Instructional Practice, Focusing upon Specific Techniques

Mississippi e-Learning for Educators Initiative online courses:

Transforming the Classroom with Project-Based Learning

Special Students in Regular Classrooms: Technology, Teaching, and Universal Design

Designing a Virtual Fieldtrip

PBS TeacherLine courses:

Utilizing Technology in Creating a Problem-Based Curriculum

Fostering Cooperative Learning, Discussion, and Critical Thinking in Elementary Math

Scientific Inquiry and Field Work: Discovering with Technology for Grades 6-8

Enhancing Multicultural Education with Technology for Grades K-8

Teaching and Learning with Graphic Organizers: Featuring Inspiration

Designing and Teaching Online Courses (Concord Consortium)

Curriculum and/or Instructional Reform

Mississippi e-Learning for Educators Initiative online course:

Data-Based School Reform

PBS TeacherLine course:

Gender Equity in the Mathematics Classroom

School Organizational or Cultural Change

A Remarkable Transformation: Union City Public Schools (Edutopia)

Social Change Beyond the School

Children’s Aid Society’s Community Schools (in New York City)