Search this site
Other stuff

All banner artwork by Brady Johnson, college student and (semi-) starving artist.

My latest books:


        Available now

       Available Now

Available now 

My book Machines are the easy part; people are the hard part is now available as a free download at Lulu.

 The Blue Skunk Page on Facebook


EdTech Update




« Do school librarians have "enduring values?" | Main | Humanizing education with technology or ... ? »

A staff development roadmap


A long standing personal frustration has be my department's my inability to coordinate the efforts of our district technology and staff development departments' work. Both departments run good programs - but separate, even if somewhat parallel, efforts using separate funding, staffing and planning.

In an effort to help bring the work of the two departments together (and to bring the training efforts of our tech department more in alignment with our district's "strategic roadmap"), representatives from both departments have been meeting to first define the technology training needs of our teachers and then to organize them in a format that is consistent with the rest of the district's staff development efforts.

Below is a first stab at our brainstorming. My listing of brand names does not imply endorsement, only that that is what we use.)

Staff development needs in technology for teachers


  • E-mail (GoogleApps for Education)
  • Webpage creation (rSchoolToday, GoogleSites)
  • Social networking (blogs, wikis, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Student information system communication tools (Infinite Campus) 

Personal productivity

  • Word processing  (GoogleApps for Education, Word)
  • Presentations  (GoogleApps for Education, PowerPoint)
  • Instructional video creation and delivery (iMovie, YouTube, GoogleVideo)

Record keeping / Data analysis/ Data gathering

  • Grade book (in Infinite Campus SIS)
  • Assessment management (Mastery Manager)
  • Data warehouse/mining (Viewpoint)
  • Spreadsheet (GoogleApps for Education, Excel)
  • Online survey tools (GoogleApps for Education)
  • Career analysis tool (Naviance)

Instructional uses

  • Interactive white board (Smartboard)
  • Interactive response systems (Dedicated and cellphone enabled)
  • Portable student-used/student-owned devices.
  • Intervention resources (Compass Learning,IXL Math, Read 180/System 44, Read Unnaturally, V Math, Transmath)
  • Classroom Management Systems (Moodle)
  • GoogleApps for Education (with students)
  • Classroom audio-enhancement systems (Calypso, Epson, others)

Teaching technology standards

  • Skills specific to content area applications (GIS for social studies, graphing software for math)
  • Online research skills

According to our staff development coordinator, "classroom engagement" will be a hot goal in upcoming efforts for improving classroom instruction. I am hoping that our buildings' "continuous improvement coaches" will work in collaboration with our librarians to assist classroom teachers using technology to "engage." Combining forces - it will be like the Justice League applied to staff development!

While I know the "best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, gang aft agley," at least a scheme is coming together.

I am pumped!

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (6)

I'd be pumped about this too. You have a robust list of offerings. Collaboration between centralized departments only leads to better services for the district as a whole. Are these offerings mainly outside of the school day or are they job-embedded in building PLCs? I'm drinking the job-embedded collaborative professional development Cool-Aid right now. As you've said to me before it's great for those who are self motivated, but I think it needs to be an expectation across the board.

On a side note, I wish we were on Google Apps. We just doubled down on our in house investments, so I don't think that's in the cards for us.

January 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Mielke

This is a great list Doug! I am going to open my Google calendar and allow staff to book some 1:1 time with me. As right now we do not have tech integrationalists or staff development coordinators. Those are 2 hats left to yours truly. :) I will admit however, they are my 2 favorite hats. I am thinking staff need a list of options like this vs just having them come up with their own ideas! Maybe even have links to samples/examples of best practice projects (teacher/student created products/artifacts) so they have an idea of what the potential end product could look like.

Perfect timing!

January 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen Hegna

Any reason for the map of Romania? I know it's just a map, but its selection was so incongruous all I could think about as I read this [post was "when in Rome, do as the Romanians."

January 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Downes

Hi Nathan,

We offer the usual after school training both by tech staff and building media specialists. 7 hours are required every five years - the rest is voluntary. My sense is most of our folks pick up what they need to know by informal peer sharing and one-on-one instruction by the media specialist. Or are self taught. Trying so hard to strengthen this!



I don't know how you do everything in your district. You're amazing.

I have some math people and my tech integration specialist coming to visit you soon and they are really excited.


Hi Stephen,

I just wanted a "generic" map image so I did a Google image search on roadmaps and picked the one I though would least recognizable and ran it through an "artsy" filter in Elements. Was hoping the map would be unidentifiable but still look like a map. I am not near so clever as you suggest!

Happy New Year to you.


January 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

I love your list, however, I have recently encountered a problem where people see a list such as yours and think that offering a "how to" workshop will meet the needs of the teachers. I know that my success with teachers has been when they learn to start with curriculum and then learn how incorporate the appropriate technology into the curriculum. Having read your bio, I assume you also teach this way. If some of the administrators and tech support people in my district were to see this list they would probably create a day long session of workshops for teachers with as many of these offerings listed as they can fit in with no curriculum connection nor with any follow-up (yes, this just happened!). This may work in the case of learning to use a tool such as a grading system or how to create one's web page with the new school web creation software, but, in the case of learning how to use a tool within the classroom, we need to be more thoughtful about how to fit that tool into curriculum appropriately and how students might be using it. Just my two cents and a current peeve!

January 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne Finnegan

Hi Joanne,

I certainly agree that such lists if misused do help create the results we want. I did try to address, perhaps not clearly enough, this integration piece in the last piece, but perhaps it needs to be more clearly and explicitly stated. I find it very hard to be specific in this are. Any specifics you'd like to add would be appreciated.


January 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>