Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Evaluating the impact of technology on learning: the importance of professional development – ITEM part 5

In the previous 4 posts, I’ve looked at the International Technology in Education Mark developed by Naace and Advisory Matters in an attempt to answer a question that was put to me recently about how we can assess the impact that the integration of technology is having on student learning.  As well as considering the direct impact on student progress, the framework also considers how technology leadership, collaborative planning and the explicit teaching of responsible digital citizenship play a part in improving learning.  None of these, however, will be very effective without professional development that encourages teachers to be innovative and consider new and emerging technologies and practices and to push the boundaries of technology use with their students.  Any rubric that assesses the impact of technology on student learning, therefore, must take account of the opportunities that teachers have for professional growth.

In considering how technology can impact learning, schools need to identify the needs of teachers and to plan professional development activities which meet these needs.  Planning for strategic whole-school PD is important, but even more impact will be achieved by planning a wide range of professional development opportunities that meet individual teachers’ needs.  Coaching and mentoring have been found to be particularly beneficial in supporting teachers’ professional growth, as has the participation in professional learning communities (both local and global) that are exploring how technology can improve student learning.  Even more impact on student learning has been demonstrated when school leaders participate in such learning communities.

Individual professional growth is important, however the sharing of effective practice will amplify the effect on student learning as it will lead to a wider adoption of effective practices both within and beyond a school. 

Ideas in this post are based on the ITEM Framework by Naace/Advisory Matters

Photo Credit:  One Click Or Two?  by Kaptain Kobold AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

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