Staff Development Plan

Introduction

Our technology professional development plan is based on a blended model of traditional styles, such as workshops, breakout sessions/facilitations, coaching, mentoring, and hands-on activities. In addition to designing our professional development program around principles of effective professional development, our program will also focus on principles of Adult Learning Theory. Much of our plan is designed to benefit adult learners and to make the instruction effective for adult learners. Adults like to learn materials that are relevant and practical for their specific needs (Ott, 2011). This principle will be addressed through the breakout sessions that will be designed and created through the results of the needs assessment. Additionally, teachers will be able to choose which sessions they would like to attend, in order to evaluate which sessions would be more relevant and beneficial to them (Han, 2014). Adult learning theory also notes that adult learners learn best through self-directed and independent activities (Ott, 2011). Teachers will participate in a number of mandatory departmental sessions geared toward department specific training, have the opportunity to participate in self-paced online modules, may request optional 1-to-1 coaching sessions, and may participate in PBL cohorts (which will extend over the course of the technology implementation). In addition, teachers will be provided opportunities to participate in hands-on, independent learning activities (DeSantis, 2012).

Rationale

Providing professional development to teachers to ensure effective technology integration that supports student learning is necessary. Because technology is relatively new, the pedagogies surrounding it are still in formation and differ from pedagogies used in the past. Therefore, professional development for ensuring student learning in a hybrid classroom must be transformative in nature, addressing two main teacher needs: technical knowledge and adaptive knowledge (Powell & Kusama-Powell, 2015).

Technical Knowledge

The first need is to instruct teachers in technical knowledge because their confidence in technology will correlate with their ability to use it. As Caplan and Graham (2008), Picciano (2011, and McDonald et al. (2014) explain, faculty must be trained how to use the technology they are given to avoid the problem of resistance that comes from simple ignorance. Teachers are more apt to use their tools if they know how to use them. Therefore, professional development should seek to influence technological fluency in teachers unfamiliar with it as well as further the fluency in teachers experienced with technology (Picciano, 2011).

Adaptive Knowledge

The second need to address in professional development is adaptive knowledge, meaning that teachers must be trained in new pedagogies, learn new strategies, and methods of engagement. This is because the traditional classroom differs from the online classroom in the way information can be accessed: Since information is readily accessible on the internet, teachers should structure lessons that require students to inquire, seek, and construct meaning from their information findings (Caplan & Graham, 2008). It is this shift from values held in the traditional classroom (i.e., good lectures and teacher-institution centeredness) to values held in the blended classroom (i.e., active learning, collaborative learning, and other student-student centered learning) that mandates professional development. On the topic of developing high-order thinking skills using technology, McDonald et al. posit that professional development must be offered to explain these new approaches, to support curriculum redesign, etc. Caplan and Graham (2008) go so far as to say that “some teachers must unlearn certain teaching methods as much as they need to learn new ones. . . .For the sake of both teacher and learner, faculty should undergo some training before beginning to teach online” (p. 253).

Conclusion

Professional development is needed to support student learning and the quality of a blended learning environment entirely depends upon it. Teachers need support to develop both technical and adaptive knowledge and training must focus on showing how content delivery and interactions must differ for online instruction and face-to-face instruction (McDonald et al., 2014).

Methods of Development

  • Canvas Course - Professional Development
  • Tech Tips newsletter and website
  • 1-to-1 coaching
  • Modular Professional Development Units of Web 2.0 Tools based on 5 E model
  • Peer Cohorts
  • Peer Observation
  • Face-to-Face group trainings (mainly by department / occasionally whole group)
  • Blog of lessons / lesson plan analysis
  • Tech Tuesdays
  • PBL Cohort