The author outlines eight key steps to building an effective staff development program:
1. Create a team. The team should be comprised of between 10 and 20 members invited from all academic and grade levels, as well an administrator, technology coordinator, librarian, district-level personnel, and a representative from any business partnership you may have. Input from all teachers and staff should be encouraged. Preferably, an administrator should lead the team and should outline for the committee its purpose, mission, and the time commitment involved.
2. Set goals and visions. The professional development plan should not be independent of other school reforms or goals. These should be used to help set the vision of how technology can help achieve those goals and what your schools will look like in the future.
3. Identify your needs. Assess current comfort levels and attitudes regarding technology. Use surveys, rubrics, and personal interviews to dig deeper.
4. Define your current status. Once you have a goal for where you’d like to be, consider where you are in relation to that goal. Outline exactly what technology is being used and how.
5. Develop a list of learning opportunities. Teachers don’t always realize what staff development opportunities are available, so creating and distributing a list can help. The list should include both on-site and off-site resources.
6. Design an action plan. Combine your vision and list of learning activities to devise a professional development action plan for your district. The hard part will be deciding how to reach your vision.
7. Design and support individual learning plans (ILPs). Encourage and help teachers to create their own individual learning plans. Use surveys and interviews to determine which specific learning opportunities fit their individual needs.
8. Evaluate the effectiveness of your action plan. The action plan should be revisited after three or four months to determine whether it needs to be revised. Teachers should also reassess their ILPs at this time.