EdTech Leaders Online
The Center for Online Professional Development launched EdTech Leaders Online to help local, state and regional and other educational agencies to incorporate technology into their professional development programs.While each venue has unique features, the commonalities include courses, workshops, resources and online interactions with instructors, mentors, and colleagues. Peer-to-peer collaboration works especially well, according to the developers at EDC. The focal point of professional development in this model is the online discussion. The target participants are trainers for capacity-building.
Another factor for success is built-in incentives for participation. Sometimes, trainers-of-trainers rely on WebQuest-like techniques.
For long-lasting impact the outcomes should be intrinsic and embedded in everyday classroom practices. In other words, this approach combines well-known best practices for professional development with online enhanced tool-building.
Here are some coaching tips, courtesy of ISTE, for technology leaders (Learning and Leading with Technology, November 2002, p. 48):
1. Assist teachers in designing lessons that integrate technology into their regular lessons.
2. Model good teaching-with-technology skills for teachers and students.
3. Co-teach with other teachers.
4. Act as a resource person who can acquaint teachers with Web sites, content-specific software, and general software that will be best for the chosen project.
5. Serve as head cheerleader and support person for teachers who are working hard to integrate technology into their lessons.
6. Be available in the computer lab to assist in troubleshooting. Teach the teacher how to solve common technical problems.
7. Keep teachers on track in meeting national and state standards as well as district o bjectives for their content area and technology.
8. Promote the benefits of technology integration to teachers, school board memb bers, administrators, parents, and the community.
9. Help publicize good practices that work with other teachers so the ideas may be shared.
10.Be a generalist! You will be working with all areas of the curriculum, from the fine arts to social studies.
C*REATE, developed in Mississippi for a Technology Challenge Grant, provides valuable information about creating intra-mentoring networks within a school. The technology of choice has been laptops.
My E-Coach is a collaborative initiative to train staff in developing capacity for online mentoring particularly in the domain of project-based learning.
See the entry "Major Telecommunication Networks Online".
As time goes by, many opportunities for professional development online have emerged for both general and specific needs. Commercial vendors have strong offerings. This site's authors are so clearly responsive to best professional practices that the steps and clarity are outstanding.