DEN professional development opportunities take the form of summer programs, week-long seminars or meetings, activities at educational technology conferences throughout the country, and numerous documents and other resources on the DEN web site.
For example, the site offers staff development resources on topics such as how to manage an interactive whiteboard, steps to technology integration, and a sample presentation for back-to-school night.
Teachers will find support for classroom activities and lesson plans on the DEN web site, too.
Turner said DEN members will find advice on how to implement projects in their curriculum, and if they find an idea that will enhance a particular project or lesson, they’ll share it with their colleagues in the online community.
“Who is going to benefit? The students,” Turner said. “If I create something that I know works, why not [let] someone else do it?”
He added: “Between the DEN web site and the unitedstreaming site [Discovery Education’s video-on-demand service], you have what you need at your fingertips at any time, at any point of the day. You don’t have to sit down in a 45-minute planning period–in a perfect world, that would happen, but you’re grading papers, calling parents, attending administrator meetings, and you don’t have time. You know that when you go home, you can dedicate your time to it.
“I am truly blessed to be a member of such a network of friends and colleagues–it truly has opened my eyes to some areas of ed-tech that I didn’t know [about],” Turner said. “It allows me to be more comfortable in that, and it opens up an avenue of giving me my own personal voice.”
Turner, who has a blog on the DEN web site, said he’s encouraged by how many educators use the site: “I’m in central Florida, and knowing someone in Russia has read my blog–wow.”