Teacher Training and Professional Learning

Teachers have the professional obligation to constantly upgrade their skills, and with technology moving so quickly, it is logical that regular and relevant training in the use of ICTs in the classroom is sustained.  This process is known as PD (Professional Development), although there is a major push by leading educationalist to change this term and mindset as it is antiquated and often has unproductive connotations.

If all educators needed to do was develop (i.e., grow, expand, advance, progress, mature, enlarge, or improve), perhaps development would be enough.  Educators often find that more and better are not enough.  They find they often need to change what they do, on a daily or sometimes hourly basis, as they respond to the needs of the learners they serve.  Doing this takes learning.  It is clearer today than ever that educators need to learn, and that’s why “professional learning” has replaced “professional development… developing is not enough.  Educators must be knowledgeable and wise.  They must know enough in order to change. They must change in order to get different results. They must become learners, and they must be “self”-developing.

(Easton, Lois Brown, 2008. From Professional Development to Professional Learning, Phi Delta Kappan, v89 n10 p755-759, 761 Jun 2008, Phi Delta Kappa International, Bloomington, IN.)

Over the course of Term Two, and for the rest of the year, CAC is offering teachers regular and tailored PL opportunities strongly linked to eLearning.  But more importantly, it is our teachers who are training their colleagues.  Teachers have numerous time constraints due to timetabling, after school activities, assessment and general work and family duties.  Finding times that are accessible is a challenge, but many teachers are taking advantage of these learning activities that have often originated from teacher requests.  Teachers know that they need to change and constantly adapt to new challenges and learning opportunities.  Building a learning culture amongst teachers and students is one way to nurture this process.

As an extension of this scenario, CAC is hosting the 2012 QSITE State Conference.  QSITE stands for the Queensland Society of Information Technology Educators, and our own Alex Delaforce, Head of Teaching and Learning Processes, is organising the event.  Teachers from all over Australia and beyond, all with an interest in using ICTs in the classroom, will be converging on the Collage on the 5 and 6 of July.  There are a number of teachers from CAC presenting sessions, and there will be keynotes from leading CyberSafety agencies, Dr Margaret Lloyd from QUT and Peter Grant, Queensland Government Chief Information Officer.  You can visit the website here.

CAC has just purchased a fantastic software package that runs in sync with our teacher diaries.  The Innovative Teachers’ Companion has been a staple of our teachers’ practice for over 4 years now, and ThinkDrive complements the diary by offering higher order thinking skills demonstrations, instructional materials and interactive activities in both teacher and student solutions.  The resources are based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, which are levels of cognitive behaviour imperative in learning.  Training for this resource has already begun and teachers will be able to implement the activities in Term Three.

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