This Wednesday and Thursday, Martha Bogart, along with Ruth Litman-Block are in Alton, Illinois, to deliver more professional development for educators.
Martha and Ruth are discussing McREL/Marzano’s nine research-based instructional strategies for enhancing student achievement and ways in which to use technology with these strategies. They will also talk about planning technology-infused lessons or units that use effective instructional practices.
As part of a year long professional development opportunity, nearly 20 educators gathered in the tele to create their digital masterpiece. These teachers are creating digital stories with the help of the educational technology instructors at CSD. This long-term professional development is called integrating Technology Educators Academy. The iTEA is offered as one of the many VLC programs at Cooperating School Districts.
Currently the VLC is providing several academies to area school districts with a variety of goals and expected outcomes. Each academy is created based on the needs, resources, and programs currently in the district or school. All of the iTEA’s use an online course management system so teachers can access the handouts & resources, as well as collaborate & receive feedback 24/7.
Teachers are under pressure to have their students perform well on high stakes tests and the test preparation takes up most of their teaching time, especially a month before the test. I hear this comment from teachers all the time. Many principals mandate that teachers not leave the classroom weeks before the test. My question is why aren’t teachers encouraged to use practice questions all year long so that students are well prepared for the test in April? Why do we wait and create pressure situations for teachers and students a month before the test? Why don’t principals, as instructional leaders, know that when teachers use researched-based instructional strategies supported by the appropriate technologies that students will be engaged in learning. They will be developing higher order thinking skills all year long.
My thought is that helping teachers learn to use technology in their discipline to engage 21st century students will increase student achievement. There are studies and data to validate my hypothesis. Why is it so hard to get administrators and teachers to learn technology skills? After all we live in a technology environment and we are in the field of education. I look forward to your comments.