Saturday, December 1, 2007

Some Characteristics of successful PD plan

I have just finished reading a very interesting paper on what are the key characteristics of a successful PD plan...

key points for success:

Planned and supported by everyone in the college; especially management, teachers and staff.

Oriented toward as specific task, focusing on actual uses of technology to enhance teaching and learning and addresses staff IT needs.

Given enough time to allow for teachers to learn, practice, and apply new concepts and techniques.

Offered to staff members who have access to hardware and software they can practice with in their classrooms or offices during class training and after hours.

Sensitive to staff members’ personal needs and schedules, offering rewards, and release time.

Appropriate to staff members’ current attitudes and expertise.

Flexible in allowing teachers to use what they learn in a variety of ways appropriate to their individual situations.

Supported at every level at the college hierarchy with adequate, ongoing staff and time for person-to-person and small-group instruction.

Accepted throughout the college community as an ongoing activity, not a single event.

Continuously visited, evaluated and improved.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Professional Development for ICT …

Professional Development for staff in my college is a task I am deeply involved in as I am the PD coordinator. It is taking so much time and effort to come up with a plan that matches the skill requirement of our staff and aligned with our ICT mission. Calculating the number of hours that have been allocated for PDs this year I can add up 96 hours. It is a lot of hours that we have allocated for ICT PDs. But are we seeing any widespread adoption of technology for teaching and learning? Not really!

Here is some of the common issues I always here from almost every teacher…

Time. We don’t have time… we are teaching 20 hrs. I am too busy..

Time for staff development must be included in their timetable or provided outside of the school day. Staff must have the time to share ideas and reflect of what they have learned.

Training. Provide continuous training throughout the semester with follow up sessions with practical examples.

Teachers see the relevance of technology to what they do in the classroom; they are more likely to incorporate it into their instructional strategies.

Technology. A common complaint among teachers who attend training is that they don’t have the proper equipment/software in their classroom. Training becomes more valuable when participants know they will be able to use it immediately.

Support. Another common complain among teachers that technology does not work. Just-in time support must be provided all the time during and after classroom hours.

I hope to hear from anyone on Professional Development..

I am planning to create a wiki page on Knowledge Garden that incorporates everything about professional development.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Managing laptop environment ....First year college students..

I agree that laptops in classrooms have many advantages...they contribute to the overall improvement of the learning process of the students. Bringing learning to life, In-class group projects, increased collaboration, improved teaching style, Improve technology competency are just some the of the benefits of laptops in classroom ..... But what I would like to stress in this blog are some of the challenges teachers face with at the college and how our college addressing and dealing with those challenges.

The Challenges are:

1.Students Surfing the web in class poses the biggest challenge to using laptops in classrooms claims teachers.

2. Teachers are frustrated by technical difficulties in laptop classrooms during and after the class.

3. As teachers start to use the laptop in class, fighting for students’ attention becomes a big issue.

4. The suitability of curriculum is another challenge that teachers face in a laptop environment.

5. When technology is involved, anything can go wrong. When laptops are in the hand of students, many technical problems can be encountered. ...

Proposed solution

A proper Support System is the key to address the majority of those challenges and issues that teachers face in a laptop environment. The main components of the support system are:

4.1. Training is the key to success

a. Technical skills for teachers

Technical training for staff must take place well in advance of the implementation stage of the laptop environment. Encountering technical problems with laptops is a daily concerns for teachers. Therefore, teachers must be able to address those technical issues either by solving them or by referring them to the technical support team. Teachers’ anecdotes indicate that this issue is a major problem for them at our college.

b. Blending the Laptop into the Lecture

Getting a laptop to function as a good teaching assistant requires a teacher to be curriculum integration expert. For teachers to change their learning styles and incorporate technology into their lecture notes, they must have time, confidence, motivation, proper training well in advance and the incentive to do it. Teachers must make sure that their lecture notes are available online so that students can have access to them at anytime from anywhere.

4.2. Class Management

Surfing the web in class is the biggest challenge to using laptops in our college. Institutions use different approaches to overcome this problem. We found that software like “Net Op School”, “Net Support School” and “SynchronEyes” allow teachers to effectively control what students are doing with their laptops.

4.3 IT Technical Support

The difficulty with laptops is that they are not as solid and dependable as desktop PC. Staff and students at our college are getting frustrated by “glitches” such as frozen screens, broken latches, and damaged screens. Some students are missing many days of participation in class while their laptops are being repaired.

A solid IT support system must be in place to repair those laptops immediately. A proper infrastructure support must also be available all the time. Therefore dependability on having the network available 24/7 is vital to the success of the laptop initiative. However as mentioned above; software controlling students access would make classroom management more effective than unregulated access.

Are we there yet?

Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Technology ….The Paths are Just Beginning to Branch Out

Many institutions in the Middle East have access to some of the best available IT infrastructure. There are also excellent support teams and great training opportunities for staff to integrate technology in the curriculum to enhance their courses. Taking a look at faculty engagement in using technology in their teaching and delivery strategies, we find that there is yet a broad range of applications never utilized. We are using the computer to send and receive emails, using word processing to write lessons, using excel sheet to enter attendance, and searching the internet. However, the number of faculty making use of the wide range of available technology to enhance their teaching and learning is still relatively low.

What needs to be done to see signs of improvements in teaching and learning through the use of technology? Must we continue to build the technical infrastructure and support system of the institution? Or should we attend to staff motivation and technological skills and knowledge? Or could we become more aware of the manner in which the complicated process of integrating technology with curriculum is a hindrance to those new to technology. Maybe a combination of all these factors is at play.

One fact I am sure of is that the new generation of learners is here. Our students are increasingly demanding more use of online courses to be delivered via the internet. Addressing the new demand of the net generation, would require from us, the teachers, to review the pedagogical, psychological and technological issues confronting the seamless integration of technology into education. Addressing these issues would involve everyone-students, faculty, academic, administrators, and IT staff.

I would like to hear the point of view of teachers on

Why are some of the challenges to integrating technology in their teaching?