The authors use the metaphor of a three-course meal to describe the ideal professional development program: an “appetizer” of basic applications training, a “main course” of curriculum integration training, and a “dessert” of web-based courses to support improved teaching and career advancement. Too many programs in place today address only basic application training, they say.
As examples of successful programs that integrate much or all of this three-course approach, the authors cite the following:
1. Poway Unified School District, Calif. (http:// powayusd.sdcoe.k12.ca.us), runs two-week summer schools where both basic applications and curriculum integration are taught.
2. Oswego City School District, N.Y. (http://www.oswego.org), conducts a 27-hour basic training program, after which teachers receive a computer for themselves and four for their classes. Teachers then provide advanced courses to their peers in integration and applications. The average Oswego teacher does 50 hours of coursework a year, voluntarily. There are two teachers on special assignment and a web master who support integration efforts after the basic training.
3. Wake County Public Schools, N.C. (http://www.wcpss.net), runs a technology connections program that trains teachers to use technology to improve the teaching of writing in K-12. The program includes institute classes, peer training, and web support with techniques and materials.
4. New York Wired (http://www.nywired.org) trains groups of teachers to integrate the use of technology into accountability efforts. Four levels of courses serve to develop cadres for technology training and train teachers to address standards.
For private-based resources that can help you create your own successful professional development program, the authors recommend the following:
• Teacher Universe (http://www.teacheruniverse.com) offers individualized, web-based skills assessment in each application area. Assessments are followed by basic skills courses offered at school systems or over the internet.
• Element K (http://www.elementk.com) provides online assessment and courses for teaching basic productivity applications and technology skills.
• Ed-e.com (http://www.ed-e.com) provides web-based courses on productivity tools such as Microsoft Word, Office, and Access; Lotus Notes; and Novell GroupWise.
• LearnCity.com (http://www.learncity.com) and Project ACHIEVE (http://www.projectachieve.com) provide standards-linked lesson plans, web-based subject matter, coaching, and job-embedded teacher training.
Advanced Training and Support Courses
• ACTV (http://www.actv.com) produces professional development courses for school systems. The courses use the district’s own material and are distributed across the district’s intranet.
• WebED (http://www.webed.com) contracts with school districts to develop and provide online courses, including special education, social studies, administration, and web-based resources in particular subjects. Some courses are usable for recertification and credit.