Professional Development

What are the goals, methods, incentives, and content of technology-related training and/or professional development for staff? 

The methods and content of technology-related professional development are changing as quickly as technology itself. Still, guidelines exist for goals in the form of technological proficiency levels found in standards such as ISTE's NETS for Teachers and the Technology Standards for School Administrators (see Chapter 7 Resources). A goal statement should also be set forth in the professional development portion of a district's technology plan.

Technology has brought a windfall for delivery methods in professional development. Online delivery means can help educators to find the best time for training based on their own schedules (see the Resources for this chapter). Video and audio conferencing allow teachers access to both instructional and collegial support. E-mail and e-bulletin boards enable teachers to share information and solve problems. Still, taken as a whole, technology cannot solve the problem of allocating the time needed for ongoing professional development to establish and maintain proficiency in technology use. There are many competing demands for teachers' and administrators' time, and districts need to allocate sufficient time and resources for professional development and training (of all kinds).

How much was spent for instructional and administrative professional development?

The indicators below include contracts, personnel, and reimbursement. One difficulty of ascertaining the costs of professional development for technology is differentiating those costs from those for staff development in general. See Chapter 6 for further discussion of this topic, including the need to quantify training by context. Job-specific training is key to successful programs, and the need to present or perform certified technology skills in order to advance may help make some professional development programs more effective.