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EdTech Update




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Personalized PD for teachers?

 At a regional tech meeting yesterday, we discussed the Personalized PD graphic below, asking ourselves and each other what percent of our staff have "personalized" their own learning. The numbers were not encouraging. (We are an amazingly honest group, very will to share our challenges and failures, as well as our successes.)

My comment during the meeting was that it is unlikely that schools will move to a personalized PD model for staff. School culture traditionally gives the organization, not the individual, responsibility for staff training. Schools have common goals for all staff and discourage independent initiatives, and therefore prescribe a standard set of skills and knowledge for all teachers. And given the overburdened schedules of most teachers, the likelihood of finding time to pursue personal learning experiences is low.

But after the meeting I reviewed Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey's excellent chart that defines personalized learning:
And here is what I came away with...  We should try to move this mountain and change the culture of professional development, even knowing the odds. 

The de-professionalizing of teaching is already too common through mandated curriculum, teaching methods, and "best practices." Teachers are not trusted and are undervalued. And how can we expect teachers to move toward personalizing education for their own students if they themselves are not given the experience of learning in that fashion?

But perhaps the biggest reason we should move to personalized PD is that it shows we truly value teachers as human beings and unique individuals deserving of respect.

Can you think of a better reason for trying to move a mountain?

Here's a description of an earlier attempt our district made to personal PD - even before it was defined as such:
Now That You Know the Basics - Rubrics to Guide Professional Development 
Part 1, Leading & Learning with Technology, Dec/Jan 2000-01
Part 2, Leading & Learning with Technology, Feb/Mar 2001

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Reader Comments (2)

Theoretically, here in Connecticut our PD is supposed to be individualized, as a part of the new evaluation system. So far, in my district, I haven't seen it, but I'm willing to extent the benefit of the doubt, as most of this year's PD was set up last year. I look forward to seeing what next year brings. As the only Media Specialist in my district, very little of the PD applies to me - I'd love to be able to decide what I need to work on and have a day uninterrupted to do so. We'll see.

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTeri

Hi Teri,

Our media specialists play a big role in providing training, esp in tech related skills, so I hope you see that as a part of your role as well. Perhaps as "consultant" in helping teachers decide what they want to learn and how to learn it.


April 27, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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