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You are here arrow Home arrow Resources arrow Publications arrow Dateline USA: Staff Development from Sea to Shining Sea

Dateline USA: Staff Development from Sea to Shining Sea

by Barbara Bray

Feature Article CUE Newsletter September/October 2000

(Article in Feature was shortened - this is the complete version with some updated information - please inform me if links are not working)

Educators, as a matter of course, employ student learning outcomes in the development of successful technology staff development programs. It goes without saying, a good teacher makes a difference, but teachers cannot do it all. Dedicated support, training, time for planning, and school partnerships are necessary elements of a successful program so that students can relate the curriculum to the real world. This column features projects, ideas and products from schools and companies around the country that can be utilized or adapted for your student and staff development programs.

Delaware and Pennsylvania

Jay Cohen, (jcohen@whyy.org) one of five co-directors in the Norfolk, Virginia Public Television Technology Innovation Challenge Grant, manages a project that places computers in students' homes where he works with the same teachers in 5th and 6th math and science classes at several schools and with a different group of 160 students each year. As the director of Educational Technology at WHYY public broadcasting in Delaware and Philadelphia, Jay ensures that the local educational community is taking advantage of computer and online technologies and the broadcast resources that exist at WHYY TV and Radio. Since this is the third year of the grant, there will be "an emphasis on assessment and accountability on all activities involving teachers, students, and parents to determine attitudinal change and opinion on what they think is happening and effectiveness of integration of technology. Since the grant started, there has been a big increase in technology and communication skills, yet, improvement in student academic achievement in math and science has still to be proven." However, some exciting partnerships were started with this project that will be sustainable and replicable. Two examples include one with the Attorney General where students create public service announcements on public policy issues such as underage smoking, and the other is with Goodwill Industries that will provide donated refurbished computers, training, and technical support. Jay is a participant of Tech Access (http://www.sixseconds.org/techaccess) in which Margo Nanny (margon@aol.com), program director, received a grant that brings teachers, project directors, and experts together. The focus of Tech Access is to create new partnerships and projects.

"Before the high school students started building computers...they nearly dropped out of school."


Alma Wright (awright@boston.k12.ma.us), another participant of Tech Access, is a first and second grade teacher at the Trotter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts who works as a Curriculum Coach for other first grade teachers. The Office of Instructional Technology (http://www. Boston.k12.ma.us) supports this program by giving each teacher a computer and a printer for their classroom and technical support. As part of the program, the teachers are required to attend a 3-5 day summer workshop and monthly "call back meeting" during the school year. This gives the teachers an opportunity to share projects from their classroom. Since 1988, Alma has a school partnership 's with the MIT Media Lab where her students used legos to create cars and other movable objects that are programmed with the computer. One of her second graders topped everything by creating a PowerPoint presentation about the car race. Yes, second graders using PowerPoint! Alma promotes an excitement that is just what students need to encourage them to love learning.

"Yes, second graders using PowerPoint!"


Betsy Goeltz, co-director of a K-12 multi-disciplinary Innovation Grant in Idaho, provides "just-in-time" teacher training and support to teachers. Up to six teachers in school teams attend a summer institute and receive one computer each plus peripherals, software, training, and support. Teachers and trainers collaborate online on specific problems or concerns, and even use the bulletin board as a help desk. The model of building capacity is at this grants core as teams provide support at their site. Betsy and her team provide workshops at the schools twice a year. Through classroom visits, workshops, and online collaboration, a real community of practice is developing that will sustain the project way after the grant is completed. The 280 teachers involved in the project will put together a reservoir of projects about Idaho (http://www.d55.k12.id.us).


Pam Bovyer (pbovyer@ousd.k12.ca.us), program director, manages two Technology Literacy Challenge Grants for 5th through 8th grade history and English teachers in Oakland Unified School District that explores how technology can be used effectively to support the implementation of content standards (Grant was completed September 30, 2001). A comprehensive technology supported professional development program establishes ways to incorporate new models for classroom teachers to work collaboratively to bring theory, practice, and implementation of the new standards together in ways that serve students. Teachers received five computers, peripherals, dedicated support, and training. Partners such as the Bay Area Writing Project, Computer Strategies, and the California Heritage Project along with a project team provided teachers multiple opportunities to attend summer institutes and monthly inservices, plus receive additional resources, technical support, and stipends. A personal coach was assigned to work closely with the teacher in the classroom on classroom management issues and project development. (http://tlc.ousd.k12.ca.us/cv). Visit the Virtual Museum which is continually being maintained and updated even with the grant over.

"...new models for classroom teachers to work collaboratively to bring theory, practice, and implementation of the new standards together in ways that serve students."

Ann Kruze (akruze@ousd.k12.ca.us) and Stan Pesick (spesick@ousd.k12.ca.us) are co-project managers of a 5 year Technology Innovation Grant, Urban Dreams for 9th through 12th grade LA/HSS teachers also in Oakland that will sustain the skills and expand on the strategies students learned in the earlier grades. The project provides access to appropriate technology tools and professional development oportunities. A focus on teaching and learning about Human Rights and Civil Rights will provide the thematic context in which students work to improve their skills as readers and writers. A wealth of resources are growing daily at http://www210.pair.com/udticg/techers.html.

Doug Prouty (dprouty@cccoe.k12.ca.us), Technology Specialist at the Contra Costa County Office of Education in California, has partnered with the US Navy and the National Park Service to create a memorial site to the Port Chicago Disaster (http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/pc/) that is a good example of a content-rich site that provides relevant, local content and primary source materials aligned to curriculum standards along with essential questions. Doug created questions using information from Jamie Mackenzie's From Now On site (http://www.fno.org) where developing essential questions are just one of the wealth of resources for educators on his site plus research and workshops on information literacy that you will find invaluable. Jamie has a added a site (http://staffdevelop.org/) devoted to adult learners and staff development that provides any stakeholder the background research they need to do to develop an effective program. Doug created and maintained The Snorkel, a valuable resource for technology coordinators. (http://www.thesnorkel.org)

New Jersey, Ohio, and Indiana

Kayla Dove (kdove@lsc.org), Education and Technology Program Developer for the Liberty Science Center (LSC) in New Jersey (http://www.lsc.org/eft.html), provides videoconferencing and workshops to support teachers as they learn the skills they need to become a facilitator on how to use videoconferencing as part of the curriculum. An example of exemplary use of videoconferencing by LSC is the Cardiac Classroom (http://www.lsc.org/cardiac.html) where students connect to the operating room during heart surgery and virtually ask doctors questions. The hospital provides the classroom duplicate instruments that are used during the surgery so students have quality experiential learning. Kayla shared a collaborative project with LSC and Timothy Barshinger (tbarshinger@w2com.com) from W2COM.com from Dayton, Ohio and the Indiana Children's Museum in Indianapolis where videoconferencing connects teachers and students to electronic field trips and exhibits. Staff development involves logistics, design of course management, along with good educational strategies. Tim, Applications Specialist of W2COM, managed other projects where schools in several states participated in a video conference with Winton Marsalis and another with eight astronauts about their shuttle mission. Videoconferences, such as the ones just mentioned, open the door to experts, authors, scientists and more. What W2COM is planning to do to support schools is develop more content around the videoconferences to support student learning. (http://www.w2com.com)


LyneŽ Klaus (lklaus@aea11.k12.ia.us), ICN (Iowa Communications Network) Technology Consultant for Heartland Areas Education Agency 11 in Iowa, is project coordinator of "Telejustice as Telelearning" project. Iowa supports an extensive network that consists of full motion broadcast quality video and audio, including voice and data transmission via a fiber-optic network. The Telejustice Outreach in Education is a special collaboration between Iowa educators, their students and judicial officials connecting 356 high schools, along with community colleges, universities, libraries, hospitals, government offices, prisons, and national guard sites. The Telejustice project connects secondary students with real people in state correctional facilities and judicial experts. Students listen in on parole interviews of adult offenders and connect to panels of young offenders who reveal compelling experiences. An online resource supports teachers so they can offer the Telejustice opportunities to more students statewide (http://www.aea11.k12.ia.us/tech/icn/telejustice.html). K-12 teachers use the ICN resources for a variety of learning models including electronic fieldtrips, collaboration between classrooms, guest experts, and professional development. This project is so unique in that it connects learners to a statewide community of legal professionals. Here are some additional links that tell more from the Iowa Communications Network Fiber Optic Lines, May-June Issue, articles on pages 3, 6 &7 http://www.icn.state.ia.us/news/fol/may00.pdf

"The Telejustice project connects secondary students with real people in state correctional facilities and judicial experts."

These are just a few of the technology projects available that engage students in real-world project-based learning activities. ISTE's National Teacher Technology Standards raise the bar for what teachers need to know and how they use technology in the curriculum (http://www.iste.org). Because of the new standards, we need to keep on top of exemplary projects and good staff development practices that demonstrate how to connect content and the use of technology to real-world activities in standards-based curriculum that engages students.

Professional Resources Available to Use in Real-World Learning Activities

Several companies are offering free or low-cost resources that you can use to increase your technology skills. Macromedia (http://www.macromedia.com) offers Web Design 101 with 30 hours of curriculum that is downloadable for free or receive a CD-ROM plus book for $25. I just received a copy and am amazed at how much is available for so little. They offer a 90 day trial version of all products including Director, Dreamweaver, and Flash. The academic price and licensing program is affordable. By the end of August, seventeen modules of Internet training in the Training CafŽ will be available free on their website. They offer eLearning Innovation awards to teachers for school websites and student projects that are showcased on their site including a project from West Palm Beach where 5th graders use Dreamweaver and 4th graders use Flash. Ted Maddock, an Apple Distinguished Educator, teaches a multimedia academy "Digital Safari" at Mt. Diablo High School in Concord, California where his students used these professional tools to expand the curriculum which include their own interpretations of poetry (http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/mdtech/poetry). The students also created a cultural mythology site (http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/mdtech/mythology).

Adobe is offering an extensive educational site coming in August where most of the Classroom in a Book material will be downloadable along with curriculum and lessons. All tutorials will be categorized with a shared curriculum area with an area for teachers to post their own portfolio. (http://www.adobe.com) Phoenix High School is an alternative high school for 1,000 students with unconventional life situations in Atlanta, Georgia with a focus on the arts. The teachers have worked extensively with Adobe products, Pagemaker and Photoshop, so all students can produce a digital portfolio to satisfy their graduation requirement and receive a computer arts seal on their diploma.

Microsoft TechNet for Education (http://www.microsoft.com/education) delivers extensive instructional resources online including In and Out of the Classroom, Hands-on tutorials using Microsoft products, lesson plans, Community Forum, and you can even create your own digital dashboard. Teachers, students, administrators, and parents will find these free resources easy-to follow.

A site you have to visit is the Fablevision Place (http://www.fablevision.com/place/) where Peter Reynolds (the artist who creates the wonderful artwork for the CUE conferences) has created a virtual place with resources galore that will not only make you smile and cry but will touch your "sole." Make sure you read "the Blue Shoe" and "the North Star" to your students. You can use these resources and more to create your own Northstar classroom. Sue Pandiani, a third grade teacher in Cape Cod, MA, created one of the first Northstar Navigator classrooms and collaborated with Peter to develop "North Start Inspiration for the Classroom, a Teacher Resource Guide. Gary Stager collaborated with Peter to create the North Star Planning Guide. Free online materials to support the guide are available (http://www.fablevision.com/northstar). Added a new resource from Fablevision: Braincogs - check it out!!

"...a shift from the art of teaching to the science of teaching"

Al Rogers (arogers@lightspan.com) with Lightspan, Inc. is looking at some innovative ways to provide staff development online (http://www.lightspan.com). Lightspan has partnered with Global Schoolhouse so the collaborative projects such as the CyberFaire and Where is Roger? are available here. Some features that you will find helpful are tools to create your own online class page or school site. Al shared a great quote, " if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" on what is happening in the world of online training. Every company is looking at providing this resource, but how do you implement standards-based curriculum in this environment? Many companies are also looking at this same model: a customizable, subscription service. Yet, Lightspan is planning an additional reflective piece that will be added where teachers work with experts to plan their own classroom strategies. This is a shift from the art of teaching to the science of teaching. This science of teaching is happening in the projects mentioned above and many more projects not included because of space. More and more companies will be providing resources online and developing innovative staff development programs.

" if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"

Through this column and conferences, CUE will continue to keep you informed on best practices, relevant and effective resources, and examples of strategies that will improve student achievement. Check CUE's online resources at http://www.cue.org. There is a new staff development listserv on egroups.com. To join this group, send an email to techstaffdevelop-subscribe@yahoogroupsgroups.com . If you have any projects, programs, strategies, resources, or ideas that our readers would be interested to learn more about, please contact me: bbray@compstrategies.com.


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"I started teaching at 55. It's never too late. I owned gymnastics schools for 30. It was getting to rough on my body so I went back to college at 50. I love teaching children. What a glorious profession!"

pictureJeanne Mitchell
2nd Grade Teacher
Maui - Lana'i City/Island, HI

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