Just-In-Time Support for Instructional Technology

 
 Photo by  Roland Lösslein
 
 

For a number of years I would hear the words "professional development," and my eyes would glaze over.  I figured that if I was going to learn anything to advance my profession, I would have to look outside what my place of work scheduled for me.

Then one fine day, I realized that I was the one doing the professional development planning and training.  I definitely did not want other teachers dreading coming to my training sessions, so I researched building capacity in a professional setting.  I found some interesting results.

Regular Educator Coaching

Regular coaching on new systems has been seen to be the most effective.  Also, long term support that supplies continuous capacity building is seen as producing better results than disconnected sessions.  

If a school is aiming to increase the integration of technology across disciplines, there may be a myriad of levels of skills and comfort that a campus technologist will have to manage.  The best idea that I have come across in managing this challenge came from an online course that I took from the Texas Computer Education Association:  Create teams and a culture of "just-in-time support."

“Each One Teach One”

This can be done by training one third of the teachers on a campus, and many of the students, on instructional technology skills and blended learning strategies.  Think of each one teach one, and train the trainer strategies. This way, if there is ever an unplanned question or issue that needs to be resolved, there will more likely be a qualified person around to give support.

Personal Learning Networks for Continuous Support

Though, significant change in educational practices take several years to develop.  Putting teachers in Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) that they can tailor for their own needs can have great payoff.  It may be that a teacher is more likely to go to a connection in their PLN for support. If they do, then great!

For an introduction to Twitter Chats, see Betty Ray's article in Edutopia:  "How to use Twitter to Grow Your PLN."  For a broader discussion on many social media platforms as PLNs, see "I Can Do What with Social Media?" by EdTechnocation.com.

Remember, It Takes Time

Just as it can take years for a teacher to understand and apply the skills being taught in a training, a solid training model cannot be built and applied in a matters of days or months.  

If a system of just-in-time support and PLN support can be developed over the course of a year (or more), success is likely to come in the field of technology integration in education.