Thursday, December 20, 2007

More Professional Development reading....

Because many factors are affecting the teaching and learning process nowdays, teachers must rethink their own practice, to construct new classroom roles and expectations about student outcomes, and to teach in ways they have never taught before - and probably never experienced as students.

Professional development must extend beyond mere support for teachers' acquisition of new skills or knowledge. Professional development today also means providing occasions for teachers to reflect critically on their practice and to fashion new knowledge and beliefs about content, pedagogy, and learners as pointed out by (Ibid & Richard Prawat, 1992).

Some of the important characteristics of the Professional development plan that have been highlighted in the literature (Hammond and McLaughlin, 1995) are:

* It must engage teachers in concrete tasks of teaching, assessment, observation, and reflection that illuminate the processes of learning and development.

* It must be grounded in inquiry, reflection, and experimentation that are participant-driven.

* It must be collaborative, involving a sharing of knowledge among educators and a focus on teachers' communities of practice rather than on individual teachers.

* It must be connected to and derived from teachers' work with their students.

* It must be sustained, ongoing, intensive, and supported by modeling, coaching, and the collective solving of specific problems of practice.

* It must be connected to other aspects of school change.

Darling-Hammond, L., and McLaughlin, M.W., "Policies That Support Professional Development in an Era of Reform," Phi Delta Kappan, 1995. Reprint by MiddleWeb.

Ibid.; and Richard Prawat, "Teachers' Beliefs About Teaching and Learning: A Constructivist Perspective," American Journal of Education, vol. 100, 1992, pp. 354-95.

Please feel free to contribute to any of the posted articles..

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Students as Digital Natives

Today is Eid Aldha holiday here in the UAE. We have couple of days break from the college. even though it is a holiday, I decided I need to catch up on some reading for my course.

I started reading the article on Digital Native, Digital immigrants by Marck Prensky. The contents of the article was not something new to me as I have read several papers recently on the characteristics of the Net Geners and how each generations process information little bit different from the other.

The big question that this paper tried to address is how can we cater for our Digital native students with our existing digital immigrants teachers. There are two main points that need to be addressed to keep our students engaged and interested in the learning process.

1. First, we need to change our method of content delivery. Step by step and spoon feeding does not satisfy the current net generation students. We have to be creative and invent new methodology that fits all subjects at all levels to keep our digital native students engaged in classrooms

2. Second, we need to assess and validate our Curriculum. What was important fifty years ago is not important at our days? Ethics, sociology, politics, and languages are contents that are important to our current net generation students.

It is a big gap between digital native students and the digital immigrant teachers. To narrow the gap everyone must work hard; teachers, students, administrators, school and local governments. ….

Till my next reading..

Prensky, M. (2002). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, retrieved on 23
Sept, 2005 from

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another reading on Professional Developpment

Exploring ICT Professional Development

An effective Professional development plan for teachers is the key to successfully integrating ICT into curriculum as discussion posting indicates (USQ….). According to Joyce and Showers (1983) staff development can make a powerful difference in performance of both teachers and students.

Professional development plan for schools and colleges are being updated to take into consideration not only acquiring ICT skills but also changes in specific teaching strategies and beliefs as well Hunt (1971).

MeKenzie (1991) indicate that to create staff development for the information age, the following elements must be considered : Staff development must offer immersion and transformation; must inspire teachers to invent; must be experienced based; must hook the curiosity , wonder or passion of teachers; must respond to teachers concerns and interest; must be consider the feelings, fears, and anxiety of the learners; must be engaging; must be catered for learners development stages; and must be properly supported and funded.

Providing proper Staff development is more important now than ever before as the role of teachers and educators is shifting to meet the new era of information age.

I believe we are seeing some improvements in that aspect. Many places have already shifted the funding from infrastructure to Staff development. Research tells that 10-25% of ICT budget should be spent on staff development. At our college we are spending 20% of our budget on Staff development. We are moving in the right direction

Joyce, B. and Showers, B. Power in staff development through research in training. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD, 1983.