Every educator has the responsibility to foster their own competency of using technology to enhance teaching and learning in the 21st century. The technology-rich professional learning program is important for every educator, including who like taking risks to try new teaching method with technology and also who are reluctant to have changes. The ideal technology-rich professional learning program should be effective and meaningful to everyone. In the last module of 6106 course, I want to inquire what the most necessary and important aspects should be included in an ideal technology-rich professional learning program.
Technology-rich Professional Learning Program is Transferring Teachers’ PD
Technology has had the greatest effect on the rapid pace and form of changes that affect learning. The tools and methods of learning are evolving faster than ever before. If educators are to maintain relevance in an ever-changing environment, they need to evolve as well. We are expecting our kids, 21st-century learners master digital competency based on their teachers’ 21st-century technology-rich education. Every educator has the responsibility to leave their comfort zone to accept the changes. The effective and meaningful technology-rich professional learning program is important for teachers to be active learners to accelerate professional growth using digital technology and also learn how to leverage technology strategically and purposely to enhance student learning.
Teachers have different attitudes on integrating technology into student learning practice which causes the technology-rich professional learning program impacts on their professional growth and teaching practice within different scales. Some of them have an intrinsic passion to take risks on trying new digital tools and teaching methods. Some of them are still reluctant to learning or using technology. There are several intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to reducing teachers confidence and beliefs about teaching and learning with technology.
Develop a Growth Mindset to Break Intrinsic Barrier
Teachers have low expectations and beliefs on using technology to enhance learning when they emphasize short-term success without failures. Developing a growth mindset is as equally applicable to teachers performance as it is to our students. With the growth mindset, teachers believe success is based on learning, persistence and hard work and instead embrace failure as an opportunity to improve abilities. Cultivate a growth mindset is one of the most important aspects of a technology-rich professional learning program.
Share New ideas and Struggles
In the technology-rich PD, we need to provide opportunities to inspire them to share their struggles and new ideas with peers when they practice digital tools or teaching strategies. Teachers can get encouraged when they begin to see how they might take action to positively influence their community and their own learning. One of the key principles of growth mindset is the willingness to try new approaches and focus on the process, rather than whether the new idea is going to be a success of a failure.
To be Active Learners
In the technology-rich professional learning program, it is important to encourage teachers to see themselves as active learners, just like students are all capable of learning and improving, so too are teachers (Gerstein 2014). Teachers get involved in a technology-rich learning environment to foster tolerance for failures and feel technology’s power on improving learning.
By viewing the process as part of a growth mindset – that is, making self-reflection formative, rather than summative. This reflection should focus less on the result of the technology initiative but rather on what the teacher learned from the process and how to improve for the next step.
Provide Ongoing Support to Break Extrinsic Barrier
Teaching and learning with technology often require teachers to adopt a more constructivist pedagogy, translating knowledge through unfamiliar visual and non-linear hypermedia. Ongoing support is necessary in an ideal technology-rich PD for teachers to build up confidence when they are encouraged to step into a new world with inadequate skills and knowledge. They can get help whenever they need which can reduce their anxiety and keep moving forward without being resistant to use technology. Transfer is somehow more likely as a consequence of prolonged, continuous, and intensive application of newly developed skill and knowledge (Clark and Solomon) Long-term vision of providing support in technology-rich professional learning program is important.
Build PLN to Collaborate and Empower Teachers
A professional learning network is one of the best ways to provide ongoing support and collaboration between peers. In the technology-rich professional learning program, PLN can be the digital space for teachers to get immediate support and feedback as they need. Their shared teaching experiences and digital resources in the PLN can be incentives for peers.
Allow PD Playback
As we know, one session/workshop of PD is not enough for teachers to master all skills mentioned and implement the skills into teaching practice. Online synchronous and asynchronous PD is another best way to provide ongoing support to teachers and it is necessary for the technology-rich professional learning program which allows teachers to playback any PD they need to review when they are free.
Focus on Pedagogy
Technology-rich professional learning program aims to infuse technology into teachers learning to foster digital competences and digital mindset which can be used in the 21st-century classrooms to transfer student learning experiences, rather than using technology tools for its own sake. Instead of teaching teachers how to use specific software or hardware, teachers should be taught how to use technology to expand and enrich the curriculum in the professional learning program. And these strategies and concepts should be immersed in the technology-rich PD to provide resonation on teaching practice.
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