Training anyone for anything is a tricky and difficult task. My colleague, Ann Feldmann and I have worked hard the last 1.3 years to incorporate the best possible training we could give teachers.
Some quick background on me, for 6 years I used to work as a principal, and recently before becoming an Instructional Technology Trainer for my district I taught 4th grade for 2 years. I know as a principal that I always struggled with the idea of how to train my teachers and afford them the time to get better at Professional Development related things.
I wish I would have come up with this sooner!
I have always been passionate about using technology and now in this new position I hold I am charged with training the teachers of my district. So, with that being said, some ideas have come about.
We (Ann and I) created Techie Tuesdays. Teachers from our District can "register" to come to our "conference" / Techie Tuesday if you will through their principal at their building. The principal / secretary arranges for a sub that day for the teacher and of course the teacher has to produce sub plans that Tuesday they are gone.
Once they are registered they come to our office / classroom for a full day of training on a given topic such as Google Tools, Website creation, Blogging, etc. They can dress casually and are given a nice lunch break to travel somewhere and have a normal lunch without having to scarf something down in 10 minutes because they need the other 10 minutes to go to the bathroom, check their box, and get ready for the kids coming in from recess, etc.
But most importantly, they are given TIME!
On a Techie Tuesday we give them the GIFT OF TIME!!
We approach the day with a very laid back atmosphere and we don't throw 15 new things down their throat that they can learn. It's maybe a couple of things, but we allow them the TIME to dig into it and learn it. We of course walk around to help them out and we are right there to assist with questions they may have which makes for a very productive, non-threatening environment.
The goal is that when they walk away at the end of the day they feel like they could use the product we are showing (ex. Google Docs) the next day at school with students if they wanted to.
Too often times we hustle teachers through Professional Development Trainings and expect them to implement it and the problem is we have not given them enough TIME to digest it and feel comfortable using it with their students the next day!
We are lucky that our district supports this endeavor and we feel it continues (in year 2 of it) to be successful in the implementation of our offerings and the enrollment of classes. We think we have hit the nail on the head with this style of Professional Development.