Professional Development in Every Way, Shape, and Form

by Jean Tower


A s Director of Technology for a K-12 school district, there are times when a specific project or topic usurps a majority of my time and attention. For example, there may be a network upgrade project that commands my attention, or at other times it could be strategic planning or grant writing or goal setting or team building or curriculum planning and development (this list could go on and on) that needs my focus and pushes itself to the top of my list for an extended period of time. Lately, my recurring preoccupation has been all about professional development (PD).

I’ve been reading and writing about PD, writing grants focused on PD programs, and working with colleagues planning PD conferences (MassCUE and METAA Technology Leadership Symposium and the Fall MassCUE and M.A.S.S. Technology Conference ). In both monthly technology department meetings and in our district administrative meetings, I started a practice of having some technology PD as part of every meeting. We have held to this more closely in department meetings, but did indeed include PD using technology in some of our district administrative meetings. Lastly, the most recent issue of on Cue , the professional journal of MassCUE for which I am the managing editor, is a themed issue with a focus on PD. Phew! So much to learn, so little time.

One of the grants is to create opportunities for teachers to participate in PD so that they will become purveyors of PD to their colleagues (train the trainer, is the popular terminology). The other grant is for online courses for teachers to become proficient in online teaching. The conferences will include keynote speakers, presentation-style sessions, a cyber café, hands-on workshops, and “make it and take it” sessions (learn on a new device and take the device with you at the end of the session).

If you are a MassCUE member, you recently received (or are about to receive) your Spring 2009 on Cue issue. This issue, delivered to the post office in April, started ten to twelve months ago. The theme was developed and publicized during the spring and summer last year. Starting with the March 2008 Technology Leadership Symposium and the fall conference I connected with presenters, educators, bloggers, and authors and invited them to contribute articles about PD. The work continued through the winter, soliciting articles from around the country, reading, editing, and planning out the issue. By the time on Cue finally went to press I felt like I had been engulfed in PD forever. Not such a bad thing, since I am a “true believer.” I think professional development and personal growth are the most important factors to improving the state of education. So, in your on Cue issue, authors share perspectives, disclose personal stories of growth and learning, and offer concrete suggestions. Thank you to all of the contributors:
Justin Reich (co-author Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology )
Thomas Daccord (co-author Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology )
Miguel Guhlin (blog: Around the Corner – MGuhlin.org )
Peggy Harvey
Walter McKenzie (site: SurfAquarium )
Carol Holzberg (profile )
Romeo Marquis (The Learning Curve )
Julie Koven (at Gann Academy )
Jason Schneider (in the news )

I hope that each reader of  on Cue is inspired to take steps toward building his/her own personal learning network and commits to sharing his/her journey with others.

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