In a report on the progress of its EduPower3 grant program, which helps train teachers and administrators in the use of technology in schools, the BellSouth Foundation has identified a number of professional development “best practices.” Here are the foundation’s keys to successful training, grouped around three main concepts:
• Authentic learning tasks for educators that produce both short- and long-term results.
• Learning goals are presented that match educators’ goals.
• Curriculum integration strategies that address multiple levels of technology access.
• High-quality materials in multiple formats, supported with clear and specific directions.
• Provision of additional resources, as appropriate.
• A clear agenda that is followed, particularly with respect to time.
• Educators working individually as well as in small groups.
• Learning experiences involving multiple learning stylesauditory, visual, and hands-on.
• Technical support after the training is completed to support educators’ implementation efforts.
• Mentors and/or site-based trainers to ensure knowledge exchange.
• A succinct and effective evaluation tool.
• Recognition of educators’ accomplishments, relative to their starting levels.
• Just-in-time follow-through, preferably web-based.
• A strategy for measuring growth over time that is inherent in the accountability system.
3. Learning environment
• Training should be held in a convenient and comfortable location.
• Instructors should possess extensive classroom experience.
• The equipment used in training should be the same as equipment used in the educator’s setting.
• The trainer-to-teacher ratio should be 1:13 or below.
• The length of the training session should be realistic for its learning goals.
Copies of the full report can be obtained by contacting the BellSouth Foundation at (404) 249-2396.