Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Professional Development for Professional Developers

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Professional Development for Professional Developers

Article excerpt

During the last year, SETDA tackled the question, "How do you provide professional development to those who typically develop and/or provide the opportunities to others?" Although providing professional development opportunities for administrators and teachers is a primary responsibility of many SETDA members, many state educational technology directors rarely have the opportunity to engage in their own meaningful professional development opportunities.

SETDA's Professional Growth Committee teamed with the Education Development Center (EDC), with funding from the AT&T Foundation, to develop an online course tailored specifically to the needs of SETDA members. The committee was adamant that SETDA members needed a chance to explore their own professional growth beyond job-embedded training. The "Leading in Technology" (LIT) course focused specifically on leadership. It is important to note that these individuals did not need credits or hours to meet a state or professional requirement; rather, the 30 individuals who decided to take this course did so solely for their own personal and professional growth.

SETDA and EDC utilized a model that included characteristics such as:

* The six-month course included a face-to-face kickoff meeting in December, six online modules, and a face-to face celebratory meeting in June.

* Two case studies, consisting of in depth interviews recorded and distributed via CD, were used to begin discussion around issues with implementing educational technology programs. Bette Manchester from the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (see article on Page 14) and Julie Young from Florida Virtual School were interviewed. They also participated in online discussion threads.

* Many participants had the opportunity to utilize loaner tablet PCs from Gateway, both to learn a new technology and to provide increased flexibility for the online portions of the course.

As the course neared the end, SETDA and the participants acknowledged many benefits and lessons learned from the course. An initial goal that appears to have been achieved is the development of a community of learners. …

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