This past week, I was able to participate in the most recent #edtech Twitter chat. The topic: How can pre-service training be improved? A decent part of the discussion focused on tech training.
I’ve decided we’re asking the wrong question. Three questions should be asked:
- What knowledge and skills do the teachers already possess?
- What are the next steps?
- What can we learn from them?
Aren’t those the same questions we ask of any learner?
If I were to prioritize goals for teacher training, I would focus on the following (in this order):
- Skill: Classroom management and engagement
- Knowledge: How do learners learn? Universities tend to focus on this question.
- Knowledge and skill: How do I manage the boatload of additional expectations (i.e. grading, school politics, parent communication)? Only experience can tackle this one.
Why did I not mention tech training? Because I learn tech stuff from them.
This past week, I had the pleasure of providing Professional Development to 20-something teachers. The experience was one of the most rewarding and humbling of my career. I’ve spent the past ten years learning to create classroom websites, ePortfolios, movies, and blogs. I showed a few 20-something teachers examples of classroom sites. They have since created blogs that I suspect might be powering the International Space Station.
In the future, I will ask pre-service teachers How would you teach x using tech?. I’ll learn tons.
In the style of one of my favorite books:
If you give a Gen-Y a computer (and an objective), he’ll ask for time.
If you give him time, he’ll want to show you something.
If he shows you something, you’ll want him to show the class.
If he shows the class, the class will learn more.
If the class learns more, students will become more engaged.
If students become more engaged, they’ll beg for more resources.
If students beg for more resources, they’ll want to use Gen-Y’s computer.
If students use Gen-Y’s computer, Gen Y will need another computer.
But it you give a Gen-Y a computer…