As someone who worked closely with a group of teachers this year on piloting 1:1 devices, I see the benefits of this first hand. But as someone who will now be working with Chromebooks this year on a bigger scale I believe that the purchase of these Chromebooks is pointless without professional development for the staff.
Project Red http://www.projectred.org/ has done extensive research on the use of 1:1 computing and their website is filled with amazing tools to help with implementation of 1:1 computing. Here are some examples:
But none of these can work without training our teachers on how to use the technology. It is a huge waste of money if the technology is not used properly by teachers and students. We must train teachers on how to infuse the technology into the classroom and how to use devices as more than just expensive word processors.
The training cannot be a one size fits all training, because as we're well aware as educators, one size never fits all. We expect teachers to teach using differentiated instruction but we don't always train our teachers that way. There are early adopters who need one kind of training and others who barely know how to turn on a computer. We need to make sure that the PD is differentiated. Mr. Thomas Murray does a great job explaining differentiated PD in the following article.http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/02/06/a-plea-professional-development-reform-8-steps-make-happen-tom-murray/ .
It should also be noted that we can't just do a one-time training with staff. It needs to be ongoing training where a trainer or trainers work closely with the teachers to incorporate the technology into the curriculum. The pilot program I helped implement has worked so well because both I and the teachers were constantly finding ways to infuse the technology into all aspects of the curriculum and constantly making adjustments.
I also believe that we need to make sure to train the parents on how to use these new tools so they can support their children with how to use the Chromebooks and Web 2.0 tools on a daily basis.
Good technology implementation can only occur with buy in and dedicated staff to make that happen. As the Project Red Study and many others state, without ongoing PD these new resources will not foster the transformative changes that can occur when technology is applied effectively. Ongoing differentiated professional development and curriculum integration are key to the success of any technology rollout.
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.