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Professional Development

Professional Development

Professional Development

Case Studies

Colton Schools is a relatively low-income rural district that recently hired Phil. Phil has three old computers with Internet access in his classroom and access to one computer lab for five hours per week. Phil wants to use technology as much as possible in his teaching, but his district offers only very basic training to teachers and this assumes that the technology he uses will be working on the day he decides to use it.

Josh was hired right out of college by Fenton Magnet School. Students have home access to their own personal computer. There is a wireless network in Josh’s school as well as class sets of handheld computers and wireless laptops. Josh has a Smart Board and a projector for his desk computer in his classroom, and access to several digital video camcorders and digital cameras. Josh’s problem is not lack of hardware or software; rather, he lacks training on the equipment so that he can use these tools in his teaching -- than merely learning skills.


A chapter devoted to professional development might seem premature before you even begin your first teaching job. However, professional development is for teachers in all stages of their career. Beginning in your preservice learning helps you to learn how technology can supplement and enhance the other learning you are doing. Whether you are an undergraduate taking a required technology education course, or a classroom teacher with many years of experience, you will have a need for professional development in technology. This need persists for a couple of reasons. For example, technology changes, which makes it difficult to keep up on your own without further training or instruction. Many teachers can keep abreast with new technology, but not without investing significant time on their own. Also, understanding how and when to use a particular technology in your teaching, learning, and as a tool to work efficiently and effectively can better enable you to see the possibilities for any new technologies that come along. Many students/teachers find that using technology in teaching gets easier as you become more familiar with it and the possibilities that exist. As your comfort level rises, so too will your desire to try new technology solutions. Professional development opportunities can provide learning opportunities in a succinct and targeted manner.

Beyond the need highlighted in the previous paragraph, the International Society for Technology in Education also provides incentive through their National Educational Technology Standards for teachers and future teachers as noted in this particular standard and the ensuing performance indicators:

Engage in Professional Growth and Leadership Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers:

  1. participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning
  2. exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community
    building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others
  3. evaluate and reflect on current research and professional practice on a regular basis to make effective use of existing and emerging digital
    tools and resources in support of student learning
  4. contribute to the effectiveness, vitality, and self-renewal of the teaching profession and of their school and community

Technology Professional Development As A preservice Teacher

Every field in education has national professional organizations that provide resources and guidelines specific to that field. These organizations are created to provide a forum for teachers, researchers, and others who are concerned with education to share and learn from one another as they move the field forward. For example, the National Science Teachers Association ( is one such professional organization for current and future science teachers. A great time to join one or more of these organizations is while you are a student since you can take advantage of reduced rates for journals, association dues, and conference fees (See below for a list of associations in the educational technology field).

Major Associations in the Educational Technology Field

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)
The mission of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology is to provide leadership in educational communications and technology by linking professionals with a common interest in the use of educational technology and its application to the learning process -- (Student $50, Regular $95);

Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
AACE is an international, nonprofit educational organization. The Association’s purpose is to advance the knowledge, theory, and quality of teaching and learning at all levels with information technology -- (Student $55, Regular $95);

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
ISTE is a nonprofit professional organization with a worldwide membership of leaders and potential leaders in educational technology. They are dedicated to providing leadership and service to improve teaching and learning by advancing the effective use of technology in K–12 education and teacher education. They provide members with information, networking opportunities, and guidance as they face the challenge of incorporating computers, the Internet, and other new technologies into their schools -- (Student $40, Regular $65);

In addition to national professional associations, state and local associations can offer a great deal of knowledge and support to preservice teachers, from job listings to conferences. An example of a state organization is the Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL), an organization whose annual technology conference is available to college students at a reduced rate ( Most associations also offer journal subscriptions and these are often included in the membership dues. For example, the MACUL journal is free with a membership; ISTE offers one journal free with membership and charges for additional journal subscriptions.

Also of benefit are the often free online or e-journals that are included or easily added to a membership in a professional organization.

Online Educational Technology Journals*

*Most of these journals are journals from a professional organization. Some are free available even for non members.

Attending conferences and joining professional organizations can be valuable to list on your resume because this tells your future employers that you strive to continue to develop your skills and continue to learn. Many schools have spent much money on new technologies so hiring teachers who can take advantage of available technologies is to your benefit. Your college campus or regional education organization, such as an Intermediate School District (ISD), may also offer organizational memberships, conferences, or workshops at a very reasonable cost.

As you join organizations, you then become a part of a community of educators who share a similar goal to become better in this field.

As a preservice teacher, learning about online communities can be quite advantageous. These virtual groups take the form of mailing lists or listservs (an email mailing list), chat rooms, and discussion forums. While each form of communication is unique, all of them bring like-minded people together and allow members to ask and answer questions of interest. Some are synchronous (real time) while others are asynchronous (not at the same time). In other words, synchronous communication forums such as chat rooms depend on people chatting about topics live on the Internet. Discussion forums are asynchronous forms of communication. Individuals can post messages and then go offline while the conversation continues. Other people will then see the posted messages and can choose whether or not to respond (see Figure at end of paragraph) -- If they choose to respond, they can reply at their convenience. A conversation can continue for many days, as users check back at their convenience.

These electronic forms of communication are also a great resource for preservice teachers. You can learn from experienced teachers, get ideas, or vent frustrations or fears that you might not wish to share with your peers, professors, or supervising teachers. Someone participating may be able to provide solutions and/or advice that can help improve a situation. Preservice teachers may also want to take advantage of the many free and inexpensive technology training opportunities available online. Teacher Tap ( is a resource that helps educators address common technology integration questions by providing online resources and activities. You can learn to use Microsoft FrontPage, Visio, Access or any Microsoft product for free at Microsoft’s educator site ( Many online tutorials for educationally related software are available at Internet4Classrooms (, and similar sites exist on the Internet (e.g., -- subscription-based with tutorial videos covering most popular software and online educational tools).

After working with software in a computer lab or classroom, you may decide to buy a copy for yourself. As a student, you can get substantial academic discounts on many hardware and software products. Some companies provide an education web page on their website where they offer special pricing for educators and students. You can also check with your campus bookstore or websites such as

In addition to building your resume and learning about technology, becoming aware of all the resources available on the Web that can aid you in your job search can be highly beneficial. There are numerous familiar generic job-search websites, but many lesser known websites are designed specifically for educators looking for teaching jobs (see next box)

COATT (Certificate for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching with Technology)

COATT was initiated through Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to provide an incentive for Michigan teachers to integrate technology into teaching. Basically, COATT is a certification that verifies that the learner has successfully integrated technology into a unit of instruction. It recognizes preservice and in-service teachers who have achieved a high standard of performance in integrating technology into classroom teaching. The preservice award is given to student teachers who integrate technology into a unit lesson plan, and the in-service award goes to practicing teachers who have demonstrated skill in integrating technology into their classrooms. Both groups submit an electronic portfolio to be considered. For examples and information, visit the COATT website at

The MAME List of Job-Search Websites
Michigan Teacher Network Job Listings
A site for all educators looking for jobs in Michigan K–12 schools -- Education America Network
The world’s most popular teaching destinations --
Includes job postings, links, resources, free e-mail, and other items of interest to educators --
From ASCD. is an online job bank and resume posting service. For all educators -- Job Hunt
A meta-list of online job-search resources and services -- Recruiting New Teachers, Inc. A national nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise esteem for teaching, expand the pool of qualified teachers, and improve the nation’s teacher recruitment, development, and diversity policies and practices. This site has links to state departments of education with certification information, articles about job searches and teaching, and an extensive list of Internet job banks --
The Michigan Teacher Network -- This site lists the dates of all teaching job fairs throughout the state and has more listings. (
GreatSchoolJobs!com -- Michigan school jobs -- MASB membership required.Teaching
and administrative positions as well as resume posting available -- Job Listings for Michigan Association of Public School Academies (MAPSA)
Michigan Live: Search Total Jobs -- Allows users to search for education or training employment ads in newspapers for Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Jackson, Kalamazoo, and Saginaw/Bay City/Midland area -- Michigan Regional Education Applicant & Placement Program (MIREAP) --
Job seekers can search for openings and post applications at the REAP site for free. The job search allows users to search by type of position, subject area, and region of the state. School districts pay a fee to participate -- -- Select MI from U.S. map; free membership required --
After securing your first teaching job, your professional development needs will continue. In-service teachers share many of the same professional development needs and interests as preservice teachers, but the in-service teacher is more likely interested in continuing their education -- perhaps just by earning Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or earning a master’s or doctorate degree -- Teachers in Michigan must complete 18 hours of credit toward a planned program in their first 5 years. Many teachers will take classes from a university, but others can receive credit for classes offered by their school district or ISD, or even by attending certain sessions at professional conferences. Many options exist and a teacher is usually free to choose the focus of these 18 hours. Some teachers choose to learn more about technology and might even enter a master’s program in educational technology -- A valuable resource for all educators has been the million dollar PT3 (Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology) grants, offered since 1999, to help prepare preservice teachers to use technology. Many projects have received funding, and each project provides many resources to preservice educators and practicing teachers. The PT3 project websites offer some examples and strategies that grant award winners are using to teach technology integration. You can find many links to winners at -- The Technology Across Learning Environments for New Teachers (TALENT) ( site contains links to resources, tutorials, project-based learning, and more. See the Technology Lessons and Projects box for more technology resources, contacts, professional development sources and technology integration
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) publishes standards for both preservice and in-service teachers to follow and strive in the area of educational technology. These standards are called the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS). For more information on NETS see -- In addition to teacher standards, ISTE also publishes standards describing what students, at each grade level, should know and be able to do with technology -- That is, they publish standards for you, as a teacher, to ensure that your students are meeting the minimum technology needed beyond the K–12 school year, and this is one way you can measure if your students are falling behind other students from around the country in technology competency. For example, if you visit
Technology Lessons and Projects
Global School House’s Project and Program: Their web page is an excellent source for finding current telecollaborative projects (projects that involve communicating by e-mail with students at other locations). Visit the Projects Registry to locate projects hosted by the Global SchoolNet Foundation, as well as projects from organizations such as NASA, in addition to outstanding projects conducted by classroom teachers from all over the world. (
I*EARN:The world’s largest nonprofit global network, I*EARN enables young people to use the Internet and other new technologies to engage in collaborative educational projects that both enhance learning and make a difference in the world. (
IECC: IECC is dedicated to helping teachers connect with other teachers to arrange intercultural e-mail connections between their students. (
GLOBE: GLOBE is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based education and science program. (
TERC:TERC is a nonprofit education research and development organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The mission is to improve mathematics, science, and technology teaching and learning. (
Check out the following:
NCREL: North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium -- resources for professional development and more. (
Marco Polo: A nonprofit consortium of education organizations dedicated to providing the highest quality Internet content and professional development to teachers and students throughout the United States. First launched in 1997 as a collection of standards-based, discipline-specific educational websites. (
Think Quest: Think Quest is an international website-building competition. Teams of students and teachers are challenged to build websites on educational topics, published in the popular Think Quest Library. (
Tech4 Schools: A free online mentoring program created by TECH CORPS© and sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard Company. They connect IT professionals with educators who can give step-by-step technology advice and guidance -- (
Education with New Technologies:
This networked community is designed to help educators develop powerful learning experiences for students through the effective integration of new technologies. Through, you will find standards for Grades 6–8. The standards reveal that “Prior to completion of Grade 8 students will:

1. Apply strategies for identifying and solving routine hardware and software problems that occur during everyday use.

(1) 2. Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society.

(2)”(ISTE) In fact, there is a list of 10 standards that should be met by grade 8. This means that 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers should all be concerned with teaching these technology competencies to their students. Every grade level is represented -- Fortunately, they also provide resources to help you accomplish the technology goals listed. ISTE provides a database of lessons and units that you can search ( Even if you are unable to find a specific lesson plan for your content area, you can still read through the actual standards and think of ways to meet these standards in your own teaching. If not now, this will become much easier when you have your own classroom and curriculum to follow. You might be able to request training in your future school district that follows the standards (this link provides actual workshops to help learn how to meet the standards: -- Many states have their own technology competency standards for teachers -- Some of these standards may differ in specifics from the national standards -- Others, such as Michigan with its 7th Standard in technology, are nearly identical to the national standards (Michigan’s 7th Standard is very closely aligned to the NETS)


preservice and in-service teachers will always have professional development needs in the area of technology. These needs may be met in a variety of ways, such as workshops, online resources, online classes, or attendance at local, state,

this ENT website, one has access to thoughtful colleagues, interactive tools, detailed
examples of technology-enhanced education, and a valuable collection of online
resources. (
NETS Digital Video Library: The DVL is a Web-based learning resource of lesson
activities drawn from the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for
Students and Teachers curriculum books. (
national and international conferences. Belonging to professional associations
and subscribing to journals in the educational technology field can help to ensure
that a teacher will not fall behind in their use of technology in the classroom -- State and national standards help teachers evaluate how well they and their students
are performing in the area of technology use and integration. These are
great tools in determining where improvement is needed. Part of being a professional
is being able to assess oneself and to seek out the means to improve or stay
current in all aspects of teaching. The dynamic nature of technology makes this
challenge more difficult, but not insurmountable. There is nothing a good teacher
cannot accomplish


1. What professional organizations should you join and why? Choose at least one in your subject area, one in technology, one national, one state, and one international organization. Compare them through membership benefits, conferences, journals, research, and other areas -- 2. Find a grant a PreK–12 teacher or preservice teacher may apply for. In one to two pages, describe an idea the grant could fund -- 3. Choose one of the standards for Profiles for Technology-Literate Teachers -- If you are a preservice teacher, choose from General Preparation or Professional Preparation; choose First Year Teaching if an in-service teacher ( teachers/t_profiles.html). Describe how you could demonstrate your mastery of this standard in a job interview, or create a technology lesson demonstrating your competency -- 4. How are you going to continue learning education technology skills so that you can ensure that your students will receive a solid foundation related to technology?


1. Investigate Internet based projects -- Describe three projects that fit your interests, curriculum, grade, subject, resources, and so on, as a future teacher -- 2. Team activity -- Choose ten best subject area/general teaching resources -- 3. Find the online Masters in Education program that you feel is the best for you -- Explain why you made your choice -- 4. Join or visit an online discussion group, listserv, or education chat room -- 5. Find a grant for which teachers may apply. Describe an idea the grant could fund -- 6. Choose one of the standards for Profiles for Technology-Literate Teachers -- If you are a preservice teacher, choose from General Preparation or Professional Preparation: choose First Year Teaching if an in-service teacher. (http://cnets.iste -- org/teachers/t_profiles.html) Describe how you could demonstrate your mastery of this standard in a job interview, or create a technology lesson demonstrating your competency -- RELLATED WEBSIITES
Academic Superstore
Discount software for teachers and students
All Education Schools
Descriptions of online Masters and Doctoral programs in education
COATT (Michigan 7th Standard)
Describes proficiency levels of Michigan technology standards
Free and inexpensive classes and tutorials
Online tutorials for educationally related software
ISD in the state of Michigan,1607,7-140-5373-78090 -- ,00.html
ISTE database
Provides a searchable database of lessons and units integrating technology
ISTE NETS teacher standards
ISTE student grade level technology standards
Links to technology learning experiences from online classes to short tutorials
MERIT Educational Resources
List of available classes for CEU credit
Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning
State of Michigan Association for Educational Technology
Microsoft’s education site
Tutorials in all Microsoft software products
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL)
Sample Technology Proficiency and Levels of Use Chart
PT3 project
Provides examples and strategies of technology integration award winners
TALENT (Technology Across Learning Environments for New Teachers
Links to resources, tutorials, project-based learning and more
Tapped In
A good example of a live chat community
Teachers Net
Light-hearted, less structured online conversation
Teacher Talk:
Free online community for teachers and students
Teacher Tap
Provides online resources and activities that address common technology
integration questions
Link2learn. (2000). “A Link to Learn Project.” The Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Retrieved 6/29/04 from -- Turkle, S. (2003). The Gender Gap in the Computer Culture. Retrieved 4/19/04 from

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