What Should Come First? Training or Professional Development?

In education IT, training and professional development don’t always go hand-in-hand

Considering the value of corporate educator certifications such as Microsoft Innovative Educator, Google Certified Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator reminds me of an age-old question: “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” Allow me to explain.

When I moved from being a classroom teacher to an instructional technologist, training and professional development was my bread and butter. Soon after, I became a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer and Expert Educator. Corporate certifications are a natural progression for many educators looking to beef up their résumés and improve their credibility.

The fact that I mentioned training and professional development separately was very intentional. I believe it’s crucial to differentiate between the two. I view training as the how — a user manual on devices, software, apps or websites. Click here to do “x,” share a doc by doing “y,” etc. Training is necessary because teachers must know what the tools are, what they’re capable of doing and how to operate them.

On the other hand, professional development is all about the why. It’s focused on building the teacher’s capacity to shift away from traditional didactic teaching strategies to methods that fully engage students in the learning process. It concentrates on the importance of sound pedagogical practices and how to leverage technology to provide learning opportunities that don’t otherwise exist.

I look at it like this. Teachers want training because it makes them feel more comfortable with how to use the technology. But they desperately need professional development in order to understand why to use it. Understandably, it’s difficult to think about altering your teaching if you’re not comfortable operating the tech. Hence the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum.

For the most part, corporate certifications are examples of training. Are they meaningful? They certainly don’t hurt, but the greater issue is whether these certifications make people better teachers.

What I fear most is that training without professional development could just lead to poor teaching being delivered faster and more efficiently. While training should certainly be part of the equation, it should take a back seat to professional development. When it comes to education technology, pedagogy should be the driver and technology the accelerator — otherwise, technology will simply end up being the brake.

This article is part of the “Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology” series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

Read the article by Eric Patnoudes on Ed Tech Magazine at http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2015/03/why-training-and-professional-development-go-hand-hand

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Building Consensus and Momentum: A Policy and Political Landscape for K-12 Competency Education

A growing number of states and districts have embraced competency education, a new approach to teaching and learning that has the potential to solve the nation’s workforce challenges. Competency learning emphasizes student mastery, rather than seat time, to ensure every student demonstrates his or her knowledge and skill in a subject before advancing.

However, when KnowledgeWorks and Nellie Mae Education Foundation surveyed forward-thinking practitioners across the county, a majority of those surveyed said they are interested in competency learning, but have been unable to implement it in the classroom, school or district.

Competency education cannot be scaled unless policymakers address the barriers that make it challenging to transform teaching and learning. Barriers stem from federal laws that reinforce the traditional time-based elements and mandated statewide and federal testing systems.

In KnowledgeWorks’ first-ever e-book, authors address three policy areas to focus on in building an educational system that supports competency education. By focusing on these areas, states would be given the flexibility needed to innovate, evaluate and build systems that positively impact student achievement.

Read the article and read or download the entire book from KnowledgeWorks at http://www.knowledgeworks.org/building-consensus-and-momentum-policy-and-political-landscape-k-12-competency-education


The Nellie Mae Education Foundation recently shared a new report with you that explores the policy landscape for K-12 competency education. You might be interested in watching the video below, which explores what competency-based learning looks like in action.

Watch the video What is Competency Based Education? on You Tube at https://youtu.be/RckLD9A0pqc.


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10 Privacy Principles for Student Data

More than 30 education groups endorse privacy principles designed to guide student data use in schools.

Education groups are working together to increase transparency around how they use and protect valuable student data.

On Tuesday, March 10, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the Data Quality Campaign released 10 privacy principles that earned the support of more than 30 education groups representing education leaders, teachers and parents. These principles provide high-level guidance on protecting student data privacy in schools and show that the education community is serious about privacy.

“There’s lots of work still to be done in making those principles reality, but I think just being able to articulate this hopefully starts a new conversation on trust,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. Continue reading

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Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly

At school districts across the country, the chief technology officers responsible for safeguarding student data are tearing their hair out.

Scores of education technology start-ups, their pockets full from a rush of venture capital, are marketing new digital learning tools directly to teachers — many are even offering them free to get a foothold in schools. That has enabled educators nationwide to experiment with a host of novel “adaptive learning” products, like math and foreign language apps that record and analyze students’ online activities to personalize their lessons.

But the new digital tools have also left school district technology directors scrambling to keep track of which companies are collecting students’ information — and how they are using it.

“A teacher can sign up for anything, without the knowledge of anyone else in the district,” said Steve Young, the chief technology officer of the Judson Independent School District, a school system with some 23,500 students in San Antonio. Continue reading

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Brain Awareness Week: March 16-22

The publications and resources of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the Dana Foundation offer accessible and reliable news and information about the brain and brain research.  All are available online at www.dana.org, the website of the Dana Foundation.

Below is just a sampling of the free materials available online and by subscription at www.dana.org, as well as descriptions of the materials available for order in bulk quantities by registered BAW partners (USA only).

Visit the News and Publications & Multimedia sections of www.dana.org for more information about our print and web publications, as well as audio and video.

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Digital Learning Day 2015

The countdown is on…

Hey New Hampshire Schools!  Digital Learning Day is almost here.  You still have time to plan an event and add it to the Digital Learning Day map.

Watch the live stream on Friday, March 13th at 1:00 PM.

Watch the Digital Learning Day Live Stream here from You Tube!

Digital Learning Day    http://www.digitallearningday.org

Digital Learning Day Map  http://www.digitallearningday.org/domain/25

Digital Learning Day on NHEON.org   http://www.nheon.org/digitallearningday

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How Technology Makes Education Exciting

Education is a brilliant combination of teaching someone and developing one’s knowledge simultaneously. You will see teachers saying how they have not been able to develop or further themselves professionally. Both teachers and students should further and move towards their goals in order to make education central to the learner and establishing more efforts towards making it fulfilling.

If even one of the two fails to further their own self, they would fail to establish the true meaning for education. For long now MOOCs have been working towards making education and professional development complete for teacher honoring their needs to grow. Technology has partnered with teachers to make education better and to help them go on with providing good education to their students too. MOOCs, though a tradition with technology, has proven to offer teachers with free hands to pursue their development.

With such cool tools and MOOC by your side, you won’t need to find ways to enhance learning of both the teachers and students within a class. Technology makes advancement of both teachers and students collaborative.

Read the entire article on Voniz at https://www.voniz.com/articles/technology-makes-education-exciting/

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