Educational Technology Professional Development Manifesto

Some basic tenets:

  1. We are educators first, and foremost. Our goal is to teach.
  2. We teach students how to think, not just how to do tasks, or use software.
  3. Technology is a tool, not an end unto itself.
  4. The best technology cannot replace a good teacher, or a good lesson/unit.
  5. The best technology used well, can make a good lesson or unit great.
  6. The best professional development teaches you not just about a new tool, but what makes it useful, and how to effectively use it.
  7. The best professional development builds relationships to build understanding.
  8. Educators need and demand concrete and recent examples from the classroom when learning about new pedagogy.
  9. Educators need and demand professional development about technology that is standards based and/or is based in a larger theory of learning. It should have a learning objective beyond operating the technology.
Not every professional development presentation will meet these goals, there is always room for exploring, and cool tools, but, we need to create, identify, and have the option of attending presentations that are about pedagogy in a way that is deep, meaningful and useful in our classrooms.

If you are doing a professional development presentation it should have:

  1. Examples from actual classrooms that have occurred in the last 18 months. If you are not currently teaching, the examples should be based on an ongoing learning relationship, not a 1-3 observation/project. Using examples from teachers other than yourself, is great. Timeliness, rather than ownership of the examples is what is important.
  2. Discussion of how the project is part of a larger theory of pedagogy/education, or based in a standard. The standard should be current, and at the top levels of Bloom's taxonomy (e.g. students will create a movie on a musical subject of their choice, etc.).
  3. Whenever possible, have research to back your lessons up.
  4. Breaking down how the project takes place, either by giving the steps/milestones and walking participants through, or doing hands-on activities that model the lesson/unit.
  5. Trainings, and presentations should have a platform for continuing the relationships and learning after the meetings are over.

Goals:

  • More pedagogy and learning theory in presentations at educational technology meetings
  • Bringing technology projects to the curriculum meetings (IRA, NCTE, NCTM, etc.)
  • Continuing the learning and sharing after the training is done, and building PLN, etc.
  • To have our work taken seriously by those outside of education technology we need to be serious about being research, theory, and standards based.