Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Professional Develpment ... Optional?

I am currently working on a professional development plan to prepare our faculty for a 1:1 laptop program to be rolled out in the 09-10 school year. Next school year each month we are planning on having one 3 hour workshop. Then to supplement the workshop we are planning on having smaller sessions on a weekly basis either before or after school. The problem is that some in our school want these smaller sessions to be optional with a monetary incentive for attendance. It is of my opinion that if these sessions are not required then teacher attendance is going to be very low, even with the incentive.

The better alternative would be to make the sessions mandatory and then add an incentive for using what they have learned in the classroom. To document the use of the technology they could post the lesson plan to a school wiki, and provide examples of student work. I also think if we want to give them choices, then offer 4-6 different sessions a month and make them pick 3 or 4 of them to attend.

Teachers have enough on their plate, I know I am one, but I also know teachers are not going to come to an "optional" professional development session for a small bonus on their paycheck.

photo by edublogger on flickr.


josh said...

The problem with monetary incentives is unless they are significant ($40 per hour CASH at least) they aren't worth the TIME to do it appropriately... why not end the day 1 hour early on Wednesdays and have your development time then? then find ways to give teachers the TIME to put those things into practice, and there is where you put the financial incentive. The contribution back to the global knowledge base, either through school wikis or personal/school blogs... pay for quality posts or ideas... (coming up with a rubric for that would be interesting)

Also the 3 hour sessions are going to be rough in "group" form... it would be better to have presenters come in and talk to specific departments from time to time to talk about best 1:1 practices...

Are you guys sending anyone to the Lucerne (sp?) Laptop Institute? I have heard some great things about that program (Pam Livingston is the director of it I believe).

Dennis Grice said...

Optional training outside school hours, paid or not, is problematic because of everyone's "busy" schedules. If any of your teachers have kids, good luck getting them to show up.
We're starting 1-1 in 6th grade next year and we've taken a mandatory training approach, but we've done it during the school day. Every three weeks our 6th grade teachers get subs in their rooms for 1/2 day while they attend training. This has seemed to work pretty well so far. Of course this would be difficult/impossible to do if we were doing a school-wide 1-1 roll out.

Colleen said...

I'm a parent of a freshman at Faith Lutheran and I'm hoping the technology program is implemented as soon as possible.

I have a lot of sympathy for Faith teachers, who already put so many hours in each week, during and after school, and who don't get paid a lot.

But I'm wondering if, eventually, the use of technology would make their jobs easier? Would the new skills make them more marketable? My point is that perhaps the benefits could be emphasized to encourage participation.

Good luck on the program.